A Black Lives Matter leader has threatened ‘riots’ and ‘bloodshed’ in the streets if Mayor-elect Eric Adams reinstates the NYPD’s anti-crime units.
The comments came from New York BLM co-founder Hawk Newsome after debating Adams during a contentious sit-down event with the incoming Democrat.
While Adams was able to make headway with the activists on his plans to fight poverty in the black community when he takes office, the former NYPD captain vowed to bring back the controversial anti-crime units.
‘If they think they are going back to the old ways of policing then we’re going to take to the streets again,’ Newsome said outside Brooklyn Borough Hall on Wednesday.
‘There will be riots. There will be fire, and there will be bloodshed.’
Speaking later to the New York Post, Newsome added: ‘To ignore that history and say you’re bringing it back means that he’s tone deaf.’
Officers from the units, that were disbanded at the height of the BLM protests in 2020, were involved in the deaths of Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell and Eric Garner – cited as some of the several police killings that galvanised the BLM movement.
He told New York Daily News: ‘There is no way that he is going to let some Gestapo come in here and harm our people. We pray for peace but … prepare for the worst.’
New York BLM co-founder Hawk Newsome, pictured during an NYC press conference in September 2021, has threatened ‘riots’ and ‘bloodshed’ in the streets if Mayor-elect Eric Adams reinstates the NYPD’s anti-crime units
Adams, a moderate candidate, defeated progressive rivals in June’s Democratic primary on a law-and-order ticket, pledging to crack down on violent crime that soared in New York City during the coronavirus pandemic.
However, on the campaign trail last year he was criticized by progressive candidates for vowing to reinstate the plain-clothes anti-crime unit.
Chivona Newsome, a BLM co-founder and sister of Hawk Newsome, made similar threats should the unit be brought back.
‘We will shut the city down. We will shut down City Hall, and we will give him hell and make it a nightmare,’ she said.
At the event on Wednesday, Adams told leaders that as the city’s second black mayor, he was the best equipped to usher in meaningful socioeconomic and educational change to New York’s communities.
‘There’s one thing that we do agree on, that we need to change conditions that people are living in, historical conditions. And the conditions have not changed,’ Adams said during the discussions that were live-streamed on Instagram.
Adams added that as the city’s second black mayor – after Democrat David Dinkins, who was elected in the early 90s as New York dealt with instances of racial unrest, crime and fiscal turmoil eerily similar to what the city is currently facing amid fallout from the pandemic – he was the person best suited to bring positive change to the community.
‘What I know for sure, is there is no one in this city that’s going to deal with this issue as the mayor of this city better than I’m going to.’ Adams declared to city leaders during the discussion.
But Adams and the BLM representatives got into a shouting match as they argued over police policies, with the Mayor-elect becoming incensed when Hawk Newsome told him the organization would hold him accountable for future NYPD misconduct.
Mayor-elect Eric Adams (pictured delivering his victory speech on November 2), a moderate candidate, defeated progressive rivals in June’s Democratic primary on a law-and-order ticket, pledging to crack down on violent crime that soared in New York City during the pandemic
Adams responded: ‘You’re on the ground: Stop the violence in my community. I’m holding you accountable.
‘Don’t hold me accountable,’ Adams went on. ‘Being the mayor, being the borough president, being the state senator — I put my body on the line for my community, so I’m not here for folks to come and say, “Eric, we’re gonna hold you accountable.”
‘No, it’s us. We need to do this together.’
Adam’s comments prompted Chivona Newsome to retort: ‘You’re the mayor of New York! There’s only so much we can do.’
Adams said he disagreed, but Ms. Newsome pressed on, telling him that she believes public safety would improve in the city if the mayor creates better jobs and education. ‘That’s a government issue,’ she said.
‘You need to be corrected,’ Adams interjected. ‘You need to be corrected based on what you’re saying. Don’t tell me, “I need to do this” … say, “We need to do this.”‘
After the meeting, the activists were furious, with Hawk Newsome saying he heard nothing from Adams to suggest he will try to fundamentally reform the NYPD.
It was the first time Hawk Newsome has met the incoming mayor, and told the New York Post that he had refused offers to meet from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, calling the outgoing mayor a ‘buffoon.’
Pictured: Black Lives Matter protesters scuffle with New York City police officers outside the Met Gala on Fifth Avenue in New York, New York, USA, 13 September 2021
The controversial BLM leader even went as far to take credit for Adams’ election victory, claiming the movement allowed him to ‘achieve power.’
‘At least with Eric Adams, we have a clean slate,’ Newsome said, adding that he still plans to work with the Mayor-elect on ‘anti-violence programs and food programs.’
But Hawk said he was concerned that Adams ‘didn’t offer a comment on police reform… he wouldn’t offer us anything concrete.’
‘We will be at his front door, we will be at Gracie Mansion, we will be in the streets, if he allows these police to abuse us,’ Newsome told the Post.
‘I am not threatening anyone. I am just saying that it’s a natural response to aggressive oppression, people will react.’
Adams added that he thought there was ‘no reason we cannot have both safe streets and racial justice in our city,’ saying, ‘If Black lives truly matter, then we must address violence in our communities while we address bias in policing.
‘Yelling and not listening gets us nowhere.’
Adams’ election comes as New York City has been crippled by increasing crime.
According to NYPD crime data, the city has had 1,526 shooting victims this year through October 17, nearly double the amount of gun violence victims through the same time as 2019, which had 760.
There were 1,507 shooting victims through October 17 of last year.
The data recorded 89 shooting victims 17 years old and younger from January 1 to September 26 of this year. In 2019, there were 45 shooting victims 17 years old and younger during the same time period.
Of those injured in shootings, 16 young people were killed by gun violence between January 1 and September 26 – an increase of more than 136 per cent compared with the same time period in 2019, when three children or teens were killed.
According to the NYPD’s latest monthly numbers, overall crime was up 1.73 per cent last month compared with November 2020. Felony assault was up by 8.3 per cent and robbery rose by 2.1 per cent.
The New York City Mayoral election came amid rising crime figures in the city
Speaking last week however, Bill de Blasio’s touted a small decrease in the murder rate while ignoring an 11 percent jump in overall crime in a news conference last week, claiming he has been successful in reducing crime.
De Blasio focused in the drop in murders last month to 37, compared with 41 in October 2020, saying the minor reduction of 9.8 percent ‘says a lot.’
However, both counts are higher than the number of citywide murders in October 2019 (29) and October 2018 (18).
The spike in overall lawlessness comes as the city grapples with an increase in visible, violent crime, including horrific subway and street attacks that have left New Yorkers terrified.
Last month, a man wearing a grinning mask inspired by the film The Purge attacked a stranger on the street with an ax. The 51-year-old victim was taken to a nearby hospital with a deep cut in his arm.
And on October 30, a man threw a Molotov cocktail into a Brooklyn bodega after an argument with employees. The workers escaped as the arsonist was about to throw a second one, but he was stopped by a witness.
De Blasio also said shootings are down in Queens and Staten Island compared to last year, and emphasized the decline in shootings in Brooklyn, which are down 20 percent from last year.
There have been 445 shootings in Brooklyn so far this year, down from 557 at this point in the year in 2020 but up significantly from 248 in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘This is crucial. This is a big story in Brooklyn. The reality bares witness that there have been amazing efforts made even in the toughest of times by the NYPD.’
Shootings, however, continue to climb in other parts of the city.
‘The Bronx is still a challenge – lots of resources being poured in to address Manhattan North as well,’ the mayor admitted.
De Blasio said shootings were down in other boroughs thanks to community and precision policing, which depend on deep ties with the community, according to the Manhattan Institute.
‘We’ve got to get the public more involved. We need people at the community levels to join those “Build the Block” meetings to get involved. Every New Yorker has information they can offer to the police that can be helpful to them,’ he said.
How NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio is under fire for spiraling crime rates and handling of pandemic
Democrat Bill de Blasio’s tenure as the 109th New York City Mayor has been marred by controversy since he was elected in 2014.
Criticism during his time in office includes the spiralling crime on the city’s streets, his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and his fractious relationship with NYPD.
He has also come under fire for his approach to the Eric Garner case and his plans to increase affordable housing at the expense of the city’s character.
Crime has also become a frequent stain on de Blasio’s tenure in office, with statistics showing that both shootings and felony assaults had both increased in number compared to last year – with de Blasio blaming the court system.
Shootings in April 2021 in New York surged by 166 per cent compared to the same month last year, and felony assaults had risen by 35.6 per cent – while crime as a whole jumped by 30.4 per cent.
High crime rates, paired with the nation’s highest tax rates have also seen many people ditching New York City for good – with the coronavirus pandemic providing the push they needed.
Bill de Blasio (pictured) has served as the 109th mayor of New York City since he was elected in back in 2014, though his time in office has been marred with controversy
De Blasio has also endured some controversial episodes during his time in office, such as in 2014. Eric Garner died after former New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo put him into a choke hold on Staten Island – but the officer retained his job.
He has also endured a strained relationship with the NYPD, with many officers turning their backs on him during the funeral for Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
The two officers had been shot just weeks after de Blasio gave an interview in which he claimed to have told his son Dante, who is biracial, about the ‘dangers’ posed by the police to young black men.
Similarly, de Blasio faced backlash after he did not attend the vigil held for New York City police officer Miosotis Familia in July 2017. While speaking at Familia’s service, many police officers again chose to turn their backs on de Blasio.
Elsewhere, de Blasio has also been criticised for how he has dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic. During the second week of March 2020, he did not act to close down public schools as the virus rapidly spread.
When he eventually did give the order for schools to be shut, he was called out for having been too slow.
De Blasio has also faced criticism over a recent vaccination mandate he imposed on school staff.