Black Lives Matter leaders in New York City threatened “riots” and “bloodshed” on Wednesday if Mayor-elect Eric Adams reinstates the New York Police Department’s anti-crime 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,” said Hawk Newsome, co-founder of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York, according to Daily News.
“So there is no way that he is going to let some Gestapo come in here and harm our people,” Newsome later added. “We pray for peace but … prepare for the worst.”
During his campaign for mayor, Adam’s vowed to reverse the abolition of the plainclothes units, which were disbanded during the 2020 Black Lives Matter demonstrations. Critics of the units claimed they were unnecessarily forceful in African-American and Hispanic communities.
“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, BLM co-founder and sister of Hawk Newsome.
During a meeting with Adams in Brooklyn Borough Hall that was livestreamed on Instagram, the mayor-elect and BLM activists got into a heated exchange over police policies.
After Newsome told Adams that BLM would consider the mayor responsible for future NYPD officer misconduct, Adams responded, “You’re on the ground: Stop the violence in my community. I’m holding you accountable.”
“Don’t hold me accountable,” Adams went on. “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.”
Chivona Newsome jumped in, saying, “You’re the mayor of New York! There’s only so much we can do. Adam’s replied, “I disagree.”
Newsome then argued that public safety will only get better if the mayor creates better jobs, education and food programs. She called the situation “a government issue.”
Adams interrupted Newsome, saying, “You need to be corrected. 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, Newsome suggested that Adams’s responses to her were either “misogyny or ageism.”
“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 said.
“We are holding him accountable whether he chooses to hold himself accountable or not.”