NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ crime-fighting plan: ‘We will have boots on the ground, on every block in this city’

In a news conference, Adams, who began his fourth week on the job, said his “Blueprint to End Gun Violence” will be launched immediately and will include more officers on the streets. 

“The gun violence crisis has hit New York City painfully,” he said during a speech at City Hall. “We are far from alone.”

NYPD COP-KILLING SUSPECT LASHAWN MCNEIL DIES OF INJURIES FROM FRIDAY SHOOTOUT WITH POLICE

New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a news conference in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. The new mayor announced a plan to combat gun violence in the city on Monday following recent shootings, including some that target police officers. 

New York City Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a news conference in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. The new mayor announced a plan to combat gun violence in the city on Monday following recent shootings, including some that target police officers.  (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

The mayor’s remarks came days after NYPD officer Jason Rivera, 22, was fatally shot Friday while responding to a call of a domestic violence dispute in Harlem. His partner, four-year veteran Wilbert Mora, 27, was shot in the head and remains in critical condition. 

The pair were making their way down a hallway to a bedroom where a woman said her son, who had been threatening her, was located. 

Lashawn McNeil, 47, allegedly kicked open the bedroom door and started shooting Rivera and Mora without warning. He was shot by a third officer and died from his wounds Monday, the NYPD said. The shooting was the third act of violence against NYPD officers in a week. 

So far, five NYPD officers have been shot this year. 

NYPD Officer Jason Rivera, 22, was killed in the line of duty Friday night. 

NYPD Officer Jason Rivera, 22, was killed in the line of duty Friday night.  (NYPD)

As part of his plan, Adams will bring back the NYPD’s controversial anti-crime street unit, one where officers wear plainclothes and focus on getting guns off the street. The unit was disbanded in 2020 under Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration amid protests over the death of George Floyd

Critics and civil rights advocates often said the specialized unit acted heavy-handed and often targeted people of color. Their tactics often resulted in resentment in some communities and plainclothes officers had been involved in a number of police-involved shootings.  

“I think it’s time to move forward and change how we police in this city. We can do it with brains, we can do it with guile, we can move away from brute force,” then-Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said at the time the unit was dismantled. 

Adams has said the officers will wear body cameras and that officers who overstep their authority will face consequences. 

New York has been shaken by a slew of high-profile killings in recent weeks that have called into question how public safety is being provided. During his speech, Adams mentioned the killing of a 19-year-old Burger King employee who was killed in East Harlem and an 11-month-old girl who was shot in the face by a stray bullet in the Bronx. 

In response, anti-violence teams of police will be deployed to 30 precincts where 80% of violence has occurred beginning in three weeks, the mayor said.  

“We will have boots on the ground, on every block in this city,” he said. 

The Police Benevolent Association, which represents rank-and-file NYPD officers, agreed with the mayor and said policies that penalize officers for “confronting lawbreakers” should be rolled back while calling for stiffer penalties for gun crimes.  

“For years, we’ve been calling for real solutions to our violent crime crisis. Mayor Adams has acknowledged the problem and outlined the beginnings of a plan,” PBA President Patrick Lynch said in a statement. “Now that police officers and crime victims have an advocate in City Hall, the real work begins. Mayor Adams is absolutely right that the message on the streets is that there are no consequences for carrying and using illegal guns. We saw the tragic results of that message again on Friday night. It has to change immediately, because we’ve already lost more than we can bear.”

During the news conference, the mayor noted that the NYPD seized more than 6,000 illegal guns last year and 350 this year, so far. He displayed an image of the weapon that killed Rivera, a modified .45 caliber pistol. 

“Our officers are doing heroic work getting guns off the streets,” Adams said. “But traffickers keep the guns coming. New guns are arriving by car, by bus and by train every day.”

On Sunday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the formation of an Interstate Task Force in partnership with the city to target illegal guns.  

In addition to more officers, the mayor’s plan includes violence interrupters and a focus on the mental health crisis that Adams said was exacerbated under the COVID-19 pandemic and increased gun violence. Another initiative calls for job opportunities for young people.

Adams also said he will prioritize appointing judges who demonstrate a commitment to keeping dangerous criminals off the streets. He further called for a second look at bail reform to allow judges to take into account how dangerous a suspect is to the community and evaluate their criminal history before making a ruling on detention.

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