Brooklyn Boro

BP Adams takes on police brutality, shooting surge in mayoral run announcement

November 18, 2020 Associated Press and Brooklyn Eagle Staff
Borough President Eric Adams has approved three Brooklyn affordable-housing projects. Photo: Paul Frangipane/Brooklyn Eagle

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams on Wednesday announced he is running mayor of New York City, joining an already crowded field of candidates for the 2021 election.

His mayoral run was long expected, and he began raising money last year, raising a reported more than $100,000.

Adams, who entered politics after a two-decade career as a police officer, announced his candidacy with three videos posted overnight.

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In one video, 60-year-old Adams details being victimized by police brutality in his youth. “Some people talk about police brutality,” he says, “I want to tell you how it is to live through it.”

Adams, who was born in Brownsville and then moved with his family to Queens,  goes on to describe an incident in which he says a police officer beat him and his brother at the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica, Queens.

“How’d you like a beatdown?” says the officer in Adams’ story. Adams later joined the police in order to fight for reform from the inside, encouraged by activists such as the Rev. Herbert Daughtry.

Adams graduated from the Police Academy in 1984 as the highest-ranked officer in his class. He went on to serve with the Transit Police, and after the Transit Police were absorbed into the NYPD, served in several precincts, including the 88th in Fort Greene, the 90th in Greenpoint and several in Manhattan.

While a police officer, Adams co-founded the organization 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, and often visited schools to advise Black and Latino students about how to deal with the police. He left the NYPD with the rank of captain.

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In the videos, Adams also speaks about his time as a state senator, where he served for four terms, from 2007 to 2013. He represented the 20th Senate District, which included parts of Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Park Slope, Prospect Heights and Sunset Park. Expressing his opposition to heavy-handed police tactics — a consistent theme throughout his career — he opposed the NYPD’s “Stop and Frisk” police, which mainly affected Black and Hispanic young men.

He also was no stranger to controversy. For example, in 2010, while serving in the Senate, he was one of only eight state senators not to vote to expel State Sen. Hiram Monserrate of Queens. Monserrate was convicted of misdemeanor assault after he was caught on camera dragging his then-girlfriend down a hallway while she was bleeding. Monserrate, like Adams, was a former cop.

Adams was elected borough president in 2013 and re-elected in 2017. While the borough president position has little power, he has been outspoken on various issues. For example, after the Black Lives Matter protests in June, Adams arranged a “Black Men in Suits” protest of Black professionals and business owners who marched in Downtown Brooklyn against police brutality. They were joined by members of the Vulcan Society, an organization of Black firefighters.

Another issue Adams has been vocal about has been that of health. He is a survivor of type 2 diabetes and now advocates a healthy, plant-based diet. “More than 29 million Americans have diabetes, and one in four don’t even know it. I was one of them,” he said at a “Healthy Workplace” event. “Diabetes can have a devastating impact on your body and can lead to blindness, heart disorder, kidney failure, limb amputation and possible dialysis.”

In March, Adams announced that he was in favor of the Industry City rezoning plan, which was later withdrawn after neighborhood opposition. He also sponsored a “Meet the Judges” event, where citizens could meet judges in a relaxed setting.

In his campaign videos, Adams criticizes the current city administration as being inefficient.

“Whether it’s the pandemic or violence in our streets we don’t feel safe, and too often city government makes things worse with inefficiency that leads to inequality and holds our people back,” he says.

If elected, Adams would be the city’s second Black mayor. Other candidates who have announced they are running for the Democratic primary to succeed the term-limited
Mayor Bill de Blasio include City Comptroller Scott Stringer, civil rights lawyer and former MSNBC legal analyst Maya Wiley, former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan.

In addition to Adams’ experience with the NYPD and State Senate and his service as borough president, he holds an Associate in Arts degree in data processing from the New York City College of Technology, a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Marist College.


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