Black Lives Matter leaders of New York said on Wednesday that “riots” and “bloodshed” will take place in the streets if Mayor-elect Eric Adams reinstates the NYPD’s controversial anti-crime units, the New York Daily News reports.
Hawk Newsome, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, shared his thoughts after a contentious discourse with Adams in Brooklyn Borough Hall.
“If he thinks that they’re going to go back to the old ways of policing, then we are going to take to the streets again,” Newsome said. “There will be riots, there will be fire and there will be bloodshed because we believe in defending our people.”
“We will shut the city down. We will shut down City Hall, and we will give him hell and make it a nightmare,” said Chivona Newsome, a BLM co-founder and sister of Hawk Newsome.
Adams received harsh criticism from progressives for pledging to reestablish plainclothes officers throughout the city, a practice that was disbanded at the height of 2020′s Black Lives Matter protests due to allegations that of heavy-handed tactics and police brutality towards African American and Hispanic residents.
During the closed meeting, which was livestreamed on Instagram by an attendee, Adams and the BLM activists got into a heated argument over police policies.
When Hawk Newsome told Adams that BLM considers him responsible for any future misconduct by NYPD officers, the Mayor-elect fired back saying, “You’re on the ground. Stop the violence in my community. I’m holding you accountable.
“Don’t hold me accountable,” he continued. “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,” he added. “We need to do this together.”
Chivona Newsome responded, “You’re the mayor of New York! There’s only so much we can do.”
“I disagree,” Adams replied.
Chivona Newsome argued that public safety will improve if the mayor enacted better job, education, and food programs.
“That’s a government issue,” she said.
“You need to be corrected,” Adams responded. “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, Hawk Newsome stated that nothing he heard from Adams led him to believe that he will seek to reform the NYPD in any way.
Dez Marrero, another activist, attempted to get a specific plan of action from Adams about addressing the police department, saying he uses “the word ‘we’ a lot” without elaborating.
“We have been doing a lot to hold the NYPD accountable,” Marrero said. “What are you going to do to hold the NYPD accountable?”
Adams dismissed Marrero’s question.
“Brother, I mean, have you been living under a rock?” Adams said. “The same things I’ve been doing over the past 35 years I’m going to continue to do, and maybe you should look at those things I have done.”
Chivona Newsome said that she was offended by the way that Adams spoke to her and the other activists.
“I don’t know if it was misogyny or ageism, but as the only woman in the room, as the co-founder of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, Mayor-elect Adams thought it was best to correct me, and he wants to know how he can hold me accountable,” she explained.
“We are holding him accountable whether he chooses to hold himself accountable or not,” she said