Eric Adams hit the airwaves on Wednesday to discuss how his Democratic primary victory, which will almost certainly propel him into Gracie Mansion, has bigger implications for national policing policy, violence prevention and public safety, as conceded by its main rivals in the race.
“We have demonized public protection in this city and this country because we have too many abusive officers who are allowed to stay in our agency,” he said in an interview with CBS. “But at the same time, we’ve ignored the issues that fuel the violence in our country. And I’m saying stop doing this. New York is going to show America how to run cities.”
Adams again touted his background as a former police officer and outspoken critic of the department while employed there. He continued to push his campaign message that “public safety is synonymous with prosperity,” as his biggest rivals, Kathryn Garcia and Maya Wiley, acknowledged after Tuesday night’s results.
Adams argued on Wednesday that he was uniquely positioned to balance reform and security in a way that could be a model for other metropolitan areas suffering from increased shootings and concentrated generational poverty.
“I know how we can turn around not just New York, but America,” he said. “We are in a terrible place.”
The Brooklyn Borough President and former NYPD captain said he would like to sit down with mayors past and present across the country to discuss a new urban agenda for the Democratic Party. And he hoped some of the political wrangling could be assuaged by his rise to mayor.
“We have reached a point where we are allowing the dialogue to move us in the right direction,” he said in a separate interview on CNN.
In addition to national concerns, Adams also addressed local issues, saying, for example, that the nightly festivities in Washington Square Park, where he said drug use occurs in the open, cannot continue. He also raised the specter of NYPD agents being more reluctant to go on patrol due to reform measures at the city and state level.
“I say to my officers: if you don’t want to be on the streets anymore, then get out of my streets,” he said. “I don’t want to hear someone say because they don’t like what the government is doing, that they won’t protect my public.”
Adams said he spoke to all of his contestants in the primary and will soon start looking at his pending administration’s resumes.
Some of those main enemies, as well as Adams himself, had filed a lawsuit after the city’s electoral council botched the initial tally of ranked picks last week and plunged the race into chaos. The Adams team said in a statement on Wednesday that it had withdrawn its lawsuit, which was aimed at preserving the right to plead once the final tally is certified.
“The election is clear and the people have spoken, so there is no longer a need to preserve our legal right to court-supervised review,” the campaign said in a statement.
Former Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, who came to 8,400 votes for Adams’ defeat, congratulated her as she conceded Wednesday in front of the Pioneers of Women’s Rights Statue in Central Park.
“When I started this race after 14 years at the head of some of the biggest and most complex agencies in the city, I was told that I had to aim lower, that I had to aim for the deputy mayor,” she declared.
“With nearly 400,000 votes to show it, I am proof that foreigners without the support of the political establishment and determined women are a force to be reckoned with. We’ve proven that you can compete, even without spending decades in the political machine, without the help of powerful interests, political favors, or big donors – just hard work, dedication and strong grassroots support.
Garcia praised fellow contenders – Maya Wiley, Dianne Morales and Joycelyn Taylor – for the tough races.
“There is a lot to celebrate in this election. We will have a majority of women on the city council, and I congratulate them all, “she said.” Although women have a place at the table, we are not yet at the head, but I know may the day come soon and I encourage my fellow citizens to stand for election. I will support you, I will be by your side and I will help you in any way I can.
Wiley also conceded defeat at a press conference in Manhattan on Wednesday, congratulating Adams on his victory.
“I’m here today first to congratulate Eric Adams,” Wiley said, vowing to continue to lobby on the issues she campaigned on. “It’s not a movement, it’s a mission… It will continue beyond today.”
Téa Kvetenadze contributed reporting.