A black ex-cop has the best chance of becoming New York City mayor

Eric Adams

The ex-policeman got his votes mainly in the poorer districts of Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, where many black people live.

(Photo: AFP)

New York A year ago, New Yorkers protested police violence on the streets of their city after the death of George Floyd. A year later, they named Eric Adams for the first time as a black man candidate for mayoral for the Democrats. Adams was supported in the election campaign by the brother of the murdered black George Floyd.

On Wednesday morning, 85 percent of the votes were counted, the 60-year-old district president of Brooklyn, New York’s most populous district, was clearly ahead with 31 percent. Since Adams did not achieve an absolute majority, the final result could take weeks because the citizens’ second election also counts.

But with a gap of around ten percent in front of the competitor Maya Wiley, his victory seems relatively certain. And whoever wins the Democratic primary, is almost certain to become the next mayor of deeply democratic New York.

Eric Adams is not just an exceptional candidate because he would be the first black mayor in the city, which has a quarter of its citizens of African descent. He is also a former NYPD police chief who campaigned for blacks and against police violence at a young age within the police force.

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It doesn’t just appeal to those who are demanding more police presence due to the increasing crime rate in the city. He can also score points with the Black Lives Matter activists because he himself campaigned for these issues decades ago.

One thing is striking: Adams was not the candidate of the liberal, rich democratic elite in Manhattan or the better neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Above all, his competitor, the city manager Kathryn Garcia, scored points there. Adams, on the other hand, got his votes mainly in the poorer areas of Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, where many black people live.

Grew up in Brooklyn and Queens

This is probably also due to the fact that Adams is a New Yorker who comes from the bottom up himself: he grew up in Brooklyn and Queens as the fourth of six children in the 1960s and 1970s. At 15, he and his brother were arrested for trespassing on property and ended up in the basement of the police station. There, police officers beat the young people until a black police officer intervened.

That didn’t stop him from applying to the NYPD after high school. There he campaigned for black police officers and against police violence. Among other things, he founded the organization “100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care” – decades before the Black Lives Matter movement. When Adams retired after 22 years with the police force, he went into politics, where he became the first black borough president of Brooklyn.

As mayor, he promises more efficient government, less bureaucracy for smaller businesses and better schools. But in the first place he also put the issue of public safety, on which so much depends: “As a city, we will not recover if we do not get this crime under control,” he clarifies.

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