Adams' remarks to gun unit puts wrong foot forward

AP Photo/Brittainy Newman

New York City Mayor Eric Adams ran on a tough-on-crime approach. As criminals continue to use guns to disrupt the city, he’s brought back the anti-gun task force the city used for years. The current troubles didn’t start until after the unit was disbanded.

In other words, it seemed to work.

But, because of the political climate, among other reasons, the team was very unpopular. Adams bringing it back is a controversial move, but one he has made clear won’t be the same old unit.

Yet his latest announcement to the group may not be the best way forward.

Mayor Eric Adams issued a stern warning on Sunday to the NYPD officers who’ll join his new anti-gun team, saying they’ll be fired from the force if they engage in misconduct and targeted tactics.

Hizzoner’s remarks come amid concerns his newly announced team — tasked with wiping out gun violence across the city — will just be a replica of the controversial anti-crime unit of the past.

“If you don’t follow the law, you’re not going to serve in my police department,” Adams said of his cops in an interview with WBLS 107.5FM.

Adams has repeatedly insisted the anti-gun team, which was unveiled last week, will not repeat the mistakes of the past.

“We know what was wrong with the unit. It was an abusive unit. It targeted and profiled,” Adams said.

Now, understand that I have no problem with firing officers who break the law. That’s the minimum they should face.

However, starting off by essentially telling them that their jobs are on the line may not be the best way to keep morale up. Then to couple that with complaining about profiling.

I’m sorry, but the mayor was a police officer. He knows damn good and well that “profiling” is common and normal, but not necessarily racist.

It’s profiling to approach someone wearing gang colors in gang territory to ask them questions about where a fellow gang member is, for example. Their skin color doesn’t really matter.

Yet it’s also easy for someone who gets arrested after such an approach to scream that they were racially profiled. Will Adams and those who work for him actually listen to the officers, or the person screaming to the media?

We all have our suspicions about which way that will go.

Now, Adams does say he expects officers to wear body cams. He also wants them in a uniform, rather than being plainclothes like the old unit was. The body cams will probably help to protect a lot of officers from bogus claims, to be sure, and the uniform thing will address one issue with the old team.

But with all that said, telling officers that their job is somehow on the line isn’t really going to spark a lot of joy or esprit de corps. Instead, it’s more likely to make the officers timid and reticent. That’s not going to accomplish a whole hell of a lot.

Then again, this is New York City, where they complain about crime but don’t really want to do anything about it.

Well, the thing is that if you want to address crime, you have to go after criminals. Statistically, that means arresting more black folks than white folks, which in and of itself will be declared as racist based on the current rules.

So, they’re going to get what they want, good and hard, unless they learn to accept that sometimes, the outcome isn’t what they like. In the process, they can stop trying to threaten officers’ jobs for them simply doing that job, especially under the tough circumstances the police face in this day and age.