Mayor Eric Adams has come out in support of the newly formed crime units of the New York Police Department in light of a federal report criticizing their stop-and-frisk practices.
The report, presented in court by the NYPD’s federal monitor Mylan Denerstein, indicated that 24% of stops made by the Neighborhood Safety Teams were done without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. It also revealed that 97% of the stops disproportionately targeted Black and Hispanic New Yorkers, prompting criminal justice reform advocates to demand the disbanding of these teams.
Adams, who brought the units back in 2022 after they were dissolved under his predecessor former Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2020 amid racial bias allegations, declared he wouldn’t curb the units’ use. He defended the effectiveness of the teams in combating gun violence, citing a decrease in shootings and homicides in the city since their reinstatement.
Despite the contentious racial imbalances emphasized in Denerstein’s report, Adams remains firm in his stance that the stop-and-frisk practices are beneficial to communities. He pointed to the high incidence of gun violence related crimes in the Black and Hispanic communities. Although he vowed to prevent any further misconduct, Mayor Adams did not outline specific plans for reforms based on the report’s findings.
A spokesperson for Adams raised questions about the methodology used in the report without giving additional details. Despite a reduction in homicides in the city, the report by Denerstein has stirred debate on the actual contribution of the Neighborhood Safety Teams to this decrease. Out of 230 car stops carried out by the teams, only two appear to have led to the recovery of firearms.
Former Mayor De Blasio dissolved the NYPD’s former Anti-Crime units, made up entirely of plainclothes officers, in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Those units were associated with several notable police-involved killings, including the 2014 death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner.
Mayor Adams maintains that his reformed units differ from their predecessors, citing new measures such as visible police badges and mandatory body camera use during interactions. Nonetheless, critics argue that these teams are merely another version of the NYPD’s notorious Anti-Crime unit, known for its discriminatory practices.