Democratic mayoral nominee Eric Adams says he will use “precision policing” to tackle the flow of firearms to New York City and take a hard line on judges who swiftly release people who engage in gun violence.
“That’s unacceptable. We need to send a clear message that our streets are going to be safe,” Mr. Adams, who bested a crowded Democratic field by focusing on public safety, told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Mr. Adams pledged to attack the drivers of violence, including poor education and the dearth of economic opportunity for young people. And he tried to navigate a middle-ground on whether police should enjoy “qualified immunity” protections that keep them from being sued for decisions they make on the job.
Mr. Adams said officers should not be taken to court if they act within the bounds of their training. But those who flout the rules should be exposed to lawsuits, he said, citing the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis as an example.
“Those who step outside those boundaries … they should be open to being sued personally,” he said.
Mr. Adams is considered the clear favorite in November’s general election against GOP nominee Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels safety-patrol group, as Democrats far outnumber Republicans in the liberal city.
A retired police captain, Mr. Adams built a coalition that focused on the outer boroughs, working-class minorities and moderate white voters who said progressives weren’t being practical with some of their criminal-justice reforms.
“We [Democrats] cannot be so idealistic that we’re not realistic. Cities are hurting all across America,” Mr. Adams told ABC’s “This Week.”
“Is it fair to call you an anti-woke Democrat?” ABC host George Stephanopoulos asked him.
“Some of us never went to sleep,” Mr. Adams said.
Political observers said the Adams coalition resembled the one assembled by President Biden in 2020.
“I duplicated it,” Mr. Adams said. “I’m a blue-collar candidate and I’m proud of what the president did.”