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Eric Adams vs BLM: Is NYC set for showdown after Hawk Newsome threatened bloodshed?

Black Lives Matter activist Hawk Newsome has criticized Adams' new policing plan, saying that it would trigger 'riots and bloodshed' in NYC 
UPDATED NOV 13, 2021
Eric Adams is in a face-off with Hawk Newsome (Michael M Santiago/Getty Images, Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
Eric Adams is in a face-off with Hawk Newsome (Michael M Santiago/Getty Images, Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

New York City Mayor-elect Eric Adams has called upon Democrats of New York to condemn Black Lives Matter activist Hawk Newsome after the latter criticized Adams' new policing plan, saying that it would trigger "riots and bloodshed" in NYC. 

Adams, a centrist who plans to handle law and order differently than his predecessor, asked at a press conference on Friday, November 12, why members of his party had not spoken out against Newsome's calls to violence. "I think that this is an excellent moment for the local and state and federal Democratic Party to state: We could have justice without violence," Adams said. "National, state and city electeds should stand up and say, 'we will never allow anyone to make those comments,' that there will be blood in our streets, because you know where that blood ends up? In the streets of our community," Adams added.  


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Adams clashed with Newsome over NYPD's plainclothes cop units

Democratic NYC Mayoral candidate Eric Adams raises hands with Jumaane Williams, New York City Public Advocate, and NYC Comptroller candidate Brad Lander during a Get Out the Vote (GOTV) rallyin front of Brooklyn Borough Hall on October 22, 2021 in Downtown Brooklyn in New York City. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The comments came after Adam's tense meeting with Black Lives Matter of Greater New York co-founder Hawk Newsome and members of the group at Borough Hall. Newsome warned Adams that there would be consequences if he went through with his plans to reinstate the NYPD's plainclothes cop units. "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. There will be riots, there will be fire and there will be bloodshed because we believe in defending our people," Newsome told reporters outside Borough Hall.

Newsome told the New York Daily News Friday that he made his "riot" comments because a question about plainclothes officers triggered him. "It made me think about the death of Eric Garner, it made me think about the death of Breonna Taylor, it made me think of the death of George Floyd," he said.  "And to think that Eric Adams is legitimately wanting to put our children in danger — it scares me." He also accused Adams of trying to distract from the real issue. "So he wants to make this a political circus. What I want is to stick to the issue — what's the plan?" Newsome said.

Adams, a moderate who defeated progressive opponents in June's Democratic primary after pledging to crack down on violent crime that has soared in New York City since the start of the coronavirus pandemic last year, has been criticized by far-left candidates for vowing to reinstate the anti-crime unit. On Wednesday, he tried to convince BLM leaders why he was best equipped to bring about meaningful socioeconomic and educational changes to New York's communities as the city's second Black mayor.

"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. "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."

Newsome told Adams he would be held accountable for NYPD misconduct

Hawk Newsome places a protective mask over his face before participating in a rally in front of the Barclays Center on May 15, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough in New York City. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

Adams and the BLM representatives yelled at each other as they argued over police policies, especially after Newsome told Adam the organization would hold him accountable for NYPD misconduct in the future. Adams responded: "You're on the ground: Stop the violence in my community. I'm holding you accountable. Don't hold me accountable. 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."

At this, Newsome's sister Chivona, who is the co-founder of the NY BLM group, retorted, "You're the mayor of New York! There's only so much we can do." She added 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.'"