Just before he took office, New York City Mayor Eric Adams visited a Brooklyn church for a memorial service honoring two police officers killed in the line of duty seven years ago. Since his own days as a rookie officer in the 1980s, Adams has understood policing's dangers and has mourned the deaths of friends and colleagues. The 2014 execution-style killings of the two officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were devastating. “I always want to remember, ‘Stay focused, Eric,’ because every decision we make about public safety is dealing with real people,” Adams said last week. He is again comforting grieving families after the killing of two other officers, Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora. Adams released a public safety plan that is meant to fulfill his campaign pledge to reduce gun violence while curbing police abuses, the New York Times reports. Adams’s first term could be judged on whether he reduces the number of shootings.
Adams was endorsed by Abner Louima, who became a national symbol of police brutality in 1997 when an officer sexually assaulted him with a broomstick, and by William Bell, the father of Sean Bell, who was killed in a hail of 50 police bullets in 2006. Adams was endorsed by the city’s largest police union, the Police Benevolent Association, in the Democratic primary. Adams said that supporters of the police and those seeking reform are often in conflict but that he understands “both ends of the spectrum.” He added, "That is why this moment is so interesting. This is a moment where a mayor understands public safety and justice.” His plans to bring back plainclothes anti-crime units and his calls for harsher bail policies have prompted fierce criticism from police reform groups.