Who is Jumaane Williams? Defund the police activist slammed for living securely on ARMY base
New Yorkers outraged after it emerges gubernatorial candidate is protected by the army, but still supports defunding the police as crime in NYC spikes
A Democratic gubernatorial candidate in New York City has created a major storm, after it emerged he lives on a military base. On November 28, it emerged Jumaane Williams lives at the Fort Hamilton US Army Garrison in Brooklyn, an irony given his pro-defund the police stance. The news has not gone down well with New Yorkers, with many slamming Williams for his contradictory approach to crime.
New York is one of the many cities facing a massive crime surge, made harder by a shrinking police department. It's made crime the number one topic for New Yorkers, with a slew of elections coming up. Recently, Eric Adams beat out GOP challenger Curtis Sliwa for the Mayor's role, with Ivonne Roman widely believed to be Adam's top pick for NYPD Commissioner. Crime police is also expected to widely affect New York's gubernatorial election, set for 2022.
Williams will be running in the June Democratic primary and should he win will be on the ballot in late 2022 but his shot could have been derailed before it even takes off, after details of his living arrangement were made public. Even though he denies there's a connection between them, New Yorkers aren't happy.
Who is Jumaane Williams?
The 45-year-old currently serves as the New York City Public Advocate, an elected position with a taxpayer-funded salary of around $183,801. He has been in that role since 2019, prior to which he represented Brooklyn’s 45th District in the New York City Council from 2009-2019. His campaign website says he was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome and ADHD as a teenager. Despite that, he graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School and later obtained a BA from Brooklyn College in 2001. In 2005, he followed that up with an MA in urban policy and administration from the same institution.
A lifelong Democrat, Williams has extensive political experience and is well-known for his stance on race and crime. In 2013, the City Council passed his Community Safety Act, which banned bias-based profiling and established an Inspector General to oversee the NYPD. He's also been behind other landmark legislation such as the Fair Chance Act, as part of his activism against racism.
In September 2012, he was assaulted by an officer during the Occupy Wall Street movement and arrested in 2018 for protesting the detention of immigrant-rights activist Ravi Ragbir. In 2018, he did float a campaign for lieutenant governor but lost to Kathy Hochul. His plan to run for Governor in 2022 will again put him at odds with Hochul.
Defund the police and home location
On November 28, The New York Post reported Williams and his family had been living on the Fort Hamilton base for two years. They are reportedly renting a corner townhouse for around $4,000 a month. Dubbed "one of the most protected areas in Brooklyn", the unit the Williams family are living in is one of the few publicly-available units, but still protected by the military. "They chose a publicly-available unit in Fort Hamilton, not because of its position on a base but because it offered the best unit for his family's price point and criteria," a spokesperson said.
But, that protection comes as a bit of irony since Williams is running on a campaign to defund the NYPD. Reportedly, he wants to slash the NYPD's budget and refocus the money on youth and community development as well as social and children's services. He even called the July 2020 $1 billion cut "insufficient". Ironically though, he lives in an area with round-the-clock security, in the form of US Army soldiers with M-16s.
"Obviously, it’s very hypocritical. He gets to protect himself, and yet we can’t?" revealed one local Joseph Rolland. Rolland added, "if you’re so anti-police and so anti-gun, then you should give up all of those privileges that allow you to protect yourself." But Williams' rep hit back saying the accusations "is belied by his record on these issues for over a decade."