Kori Chambers: We’re hearing directly from, well, the man running the city, Mayor Eric Adams joining us live right now. Thanks so much for the time, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. It’s good to be on with you.
Chambers: Well, I want to start with the video that we’re just showing, that attack on two officers in Times Square. As a New Yorker, looking at this video, it makes you feel a certain way. We’re on the streets talking to people, and Nicole Johnson talked to a guy who saw the video and said, no law and order. We need a change in the city. That’s just one New Yorker that we heard from responding to what we’re seeing here.
I’m curious, just to start, what’s your response to this video? Two officers just being pummeled?
Mayor Adams: Well, first of all, I’m disgusted by what I saw, and we’re going to find each person involved and they’re going to be brought to justice, I want to be clear on that. But I want to push back on anyone who states there’s no law and order.
That is not true. This city has clearly shown that the New York City Police Department has, we have done an amazing job of driving down crime, homicide, shootings, five out of the seven major crime categories. Our subway system is also safe.
When you have incidents like this that makes you feel as though there’s no law and order, let me tell you, you have a law and order mayor and you have a law and order commissioner, and this is going to continue to be the safest big city in America.
Chambers: You know, it is interesting to hear you say that as we watch somebody kicking an officer in the head. I have to ask you, though, about this because, you know, you have four of the five people who have been arrested by police on the streets already. I mean, what’s your response to that? I realize it’s a state issue, but still, what’s your response to that?
Mayor Adams: You know, we’re going to do our job as the city. And as we’re learning more and more, and this is a real educational moment for New Yorkers. We are able to do our job and we do it well. But there’s some things in the criminal justice system that is outside our span of control.
We bring them to justice, we incarcerate them. It is up to the entire system to determine that dangerous people won’t remain on our streets, particularly repeated offenders or those who show a lack of respect for law and order. They were not kicking just two individuals. They were kicking our symbol of public safety, and that is the men and women who wear that uniform.
And we need to make sure that the increasing assaults on law enforcement officers is sending the wrong message. And I’ve been clear about that since taking office, and I’m going to continue to stand by the men and women who keep us safe.
Chambers: Before we move on, what should New Yorkers make of the fact that most of the people involved in this attack are migrants?
Mayor Adams: Well, listen, I’ve been saying this over and over again. The national government must do its job. This is not a responsibility that should be placed in the lap of all of these big cities. We’re seeing what’s taking place in Chicago and Denver and Boston, all across our country big cities are having to do the national government’s job.
And those migrants who are here because they want to be part of the American dream, that’s… We say yes to that. But those who are breaking our laws, we need to reexamine the laws that don’t allow us to deport them because they’re doing violent acts.
We cannot create an atmosphere where you’re going to bring violence in our city. But the overwhelming number of migrants and asylum seekers are waiting to have work authorization or their determination, and we need to be clear on that.
Shirley Chan: All right ,ayor, let’s talk about the City Council overriding your veto. Within the next six months, this new policy is expected to go into effect. What happens next? Is there any room for renegotiating?
Mayor Adams: Well, we’re going to continue to do that. It is my desire to reach out to the councilmembers, those who voted in opposition and those who talked on the floor to state that we can find a middle ground here.
As I stated, I supported the concept of the bill. There was the Level 1s that you heard about often that was problematic because of the volume of that, and I’m hoping that we could all look and get the win.
I think the council’s heart was in the right place. I knew what they were trying to do, because this is what I pushed for my entire career. But you cannot do it that is going to jeopardize response time and jeopardize our police officers actually doing patrol and not just some form of documentation or paperwork.
Chan: And mayor, we know that there were some councilmembers who voted against overriding the veto. And a lot of them were saying that this could possibly discourage people from pursuing a career in law enforcement. What are your thoughts about that, and how do you go about making sure that doesn’t happen?
Mayor Adams: Well, it’s a combination of things. Not only will it discourage officers from being in law enforcement — something that we’re witnessing all across the country, the lack of real involvement of becoming a person in law enforcement — but it also can hamper interacting with the public.
We’ve done an amazing job of really building that relationship between police and community. We don’t want to put police officers in a place where they’re guessing for every interaction the gender, the race, the ethnicity of a person, and then having to write down exactly why they stopped him.
New Yorkers are extremely finicky when they have to have that type of interaction and watching officers respond after doing so. So, it is a very important moment. That’s why I did the ride‑along, and I’m going to encourage the public advocate as well as others to ride along and see how this is going to play out on the ground.
Chambers: You know, there was a poll last month, and I hate to ask questions about polls, but I think in this case it’s worth talking about. The poll last month puts your approval rating at like 29 percent, like a record low, it’s a record low approval rating is always a big headline. Then this week you have the council override two vetoes, right, 42 to nine votes.
So, when you look at these two figures together, I’m just, I have to ask, I mean, is it possible that you’re out of step with a majority of New Yorkers right now?
Mayor Adams: No, to the contrary. You look at my good friend in Chicago who’s going through the migrant and asylum seeker crisis, his poll numbers went down to 20 percent. When you look across the country, residents are angry, residents are concerned about the direction of what they’re seeing in their cities.
Let’s be clear on this. I’m in step. Crime is down. Jobs are up. Our young people are outpacing the state in reading and writing. You’re watching the largest private sector jobs in the history of the city, what we’re doing around housing.
No, we’re in step. You know, you go through a rough patch as an executive. You know, people did not elect me to tell them about the problem, they elected me to solve the problem, and I’m going to solve the problem. The goal is to stay focused, no distractions and grind, and that’s what I do very well.
Chan: All right. Well, Mayor Adams, thank you for your time and thank you for joining us this evening.
Chambers: Still smiling despite all that is on his plate. We appreciate the time, as always, Mr. Mayor.
Mayor Adams: Thank you.
January 31, 2024 New York City Hall
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