New York Mayor Eric Adams pledges to restore plainclothes anti-gun unit to city streets

New York Mayor Eric Adams vowed Sunday to restore a controversial undercover anti-gun unit to city streets after NYPD officer Jason Rivera was murdered and his partner was shot in the head into a suspected ambush in Harlem.

During a Sunday morning appearance on CNN after the shooting, Mayor Adams stressed the urgency “to address the underlying issues that impact crime in our city and have become a stain on downtown areas. of our country”.

He said his police force would revamp the undercover crime unit, focusing on getting guns off the streets and illegal gang activity.

Previous iterations of the unit were disbanded in 2020 over fears they accounted for a disproportionate number of shootings and complaints.

Adams said NYC was going to restore a ‘newer version’ of the plainclothes unit, when co-anchor Dana Bash on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ asked him what steps he was taking to improve safety in the city.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams vowed Sunday to restore a controversial undercover anti-guns unit to city streets after NYPD officer Jason Rivera was murdered in a suspected ambush in Harlem. Pictured: Adams speaks after two officers were shot in Harlem on Saturday

“I talked about this during the election campaign. Our team did the right analysis. And now we’re going to roll this out,” he told CNN.

The unit disbanded after being criticized for its use of force against blacks and Latinos, according to The New York Times.

Such anti-crime units have been exposed by members of progressive organizations, including Black Lives Matter movement leaders such as Hawk Newsome, who clashed with Adams over the issue in November last year.

In December, Adams warned he was not going to “surrender” to people who threatened to “burn down” New York.

Adams – who succeeded Bill de Blasio as mayor on January 1 – also said mental health professionals would be stationed on the New York City subway as another strategy to reduce crime.

The city “will flood our system with mental health and law enforcement professionals working as a team to clear up the mess that is clearly in our city’s subway system,” he said of the plans.

“We shouldn’t wait for someone to take a dangerous action, when we know they are on this station in the first place,” he added.

Such anti-crime units have been denounced by members of progressive organizations, including leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement such as Hawk Newsome

Such anti-crime units have been denounced by members of progressive organizations, including leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement such as Hawk Newsome

“Immediately, when you see a dangerous person there, mental health professionals will be deployed, and that person will receive appropriate care and be removed from our subway system.”

Adams, who was previously a police captain, was sometimes an outspoken critic of the Interior Department, according to The New York Times.

He even helped lead the reaction against plainclothes units after officers killed Amadou Diallo – an unarmed black man – on his porch in 1999.

But Adams and new police commissioner Keechant Sewell have now said they will rename the team an ‘anti-gun unit’ which wears body cameras and targets illegal firearms and gun-related activity. .

“I know how to do it right because I fought against what was done wrong,” Mayor Adams said Sunday at a news conference.

“I’m delivering on what I promised New Yorkers, and I have a police commissioner who knows how to do this right.”

The mayor’s wish came as New York City, reeling from a recent wave of violence, prepared to bury a rookie police officer hailed as an inspiration to its immigrant community, as investigators sought to make sense of a domestic dispute that left another officer ‘fighting for his life.’

Crime has risen 35% since Eric Adams took office as mayor of New York

Crime has risen 35% since Eric Adams took office as mayor of New York

Overall crime is up 35% in the Big Apple

Overall crime is up 35% in the Big Apple

New York City police and firefighters stand at attention as they wait for the remains of police officer Jason Rivera to be brought to a funeral home on Sunday in New York City.

New York City police and firefighters stand at attention as they wait for the remains of police officer Jason Rivera to be brought to a funeral home on Sunday in New York City.

Lashawn McNeil

Jason Rivera, 22, right.  The two officers were shot while responding to a call about an argument between a woman and her adult son in New York's Harlem neighborhood.  Rivera was killed while Mora

Jason Rivera, 22, right, was shot and killed by convicted felon Lashawn McNeil, 47, left, while driving to a Harlem address to investigate a domestic violence call

New York Police Officer Jason Rivera’s funeral was being finalized as his comrades in blue mourned the loss of the 22-year-old who joined the force to make a difference in what he described as a “chaotic city”.

A solemn scene unfolded on Sunday with a column of uniformed police, along with a line of firefighters, flanking the streets as a hearse carrying the deceased officer left the medical examiner’s office.

Plainclothes police units in America

In New York and other US cities, police departments have deployed plainclothes units in an attempt to crack down on guns and illegal drugs.

New York was the first to experiment with undercover agents decades ago.

However, the anti-crime units that operated from the 77 NYPD precings and nine housing commands were disbanded in 2020.

Dermot F. Shea, the commissioner at the time, said they had become obsolete and pitted the police against the people they serve.

The units were often criticized for their conduct.

In 2017, the Baltimore police commissioner disbanded his undercover crews after members of a firearms task force were accused of both extorting civilians and stealing their property.

Funeral rites were scheduled for Friday, city officials said, with services Thursday at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Rivera and Officer Wilbert Mora were shot Friday night while responding to a call about an argument between a woman and her adult son. Mora, 27, suffered a serious head injury, police said.

The medical examiner ruled Rivera’s death a homicide after an autopsy revealed he died of gunshot wounds to the head and torso.

Mora, who has worked for the NYPD for four years, remains in life-threatening condition, Adams said Sunday. Police said he will be transferred from Harlem Hospital to NYU Langone Medical Center.

“It really impacted our whole city, if not the whole country. And it comes after five officers were shot, the 11-month-old baby shot dead in Brooklyn,’ the mayor said.

The shooting is the latest in a string of crimes that have angered the nation’s most populous city and the nation’s largest police force, with 36,000 officers.

In the three weeks since Adams took office, a 19-year-old cashier was shot while working late at night at a Burger King, a woman was shoved to death at a gas station underground and a baby was seriously injured. injured by a stray bullet while in a parked car with her mother.

With the Harlem shooting on Friday night, four police officers had been shot in as many days.

Police say the man opened fire on Friday, Lashawn J. McNeil, 47, was also seriously injured and hospitalized.

Elizabeth J. Harless