Eric Adams Names NYPD Commissioner in Front of Cop Killer Mural

New York mayor-elect Eric Adams (D.) / Getty Images
December 15, 2021

New York City mayor-elect Eric Adams (D.) on Wednesday named the next commissioner of the New York Police Department while standing in front of a mural dedicated to a convicted cop killer and other controversial left-wing icons.

Adams announced his selection of Nassau County chief of detectives Keechant Sewell at a press conference held at a housing project in Queens and attended by scores of uniformed NYPD officers. The announcement took place before a large mural that depicts civil rights leader Malcolm X, longtime Communist Party member Angela Davis, Black Panther founder Huey Newton, and convicted cop killer Assata Shakur.

The choice of background for the announcement seemingly conflicts with Adams's pledge to fight rising crime in New York. A former NYPD officer, Adams has touted endorsements from New York City's largest police union. Adams has drawn fire from progressives for praising the "broken windows" theory of policing, which says that cracking down on minor crimes helps prevent violent crime. He also faced backlash for his plan to reinstate a plainclothes detective unit that progressives say was behind numerous fatal police shootings.

The figures on the mural have become heroes to many anti-police activist groups. Shakur, a former member of the Black Liberation Army, was convicted of first-degree murder in the 1973 killing of New Jersey state trooper Werner Foerster. Newton, the founder of the Black Panther Party, was convicted of manslaughter in the 1968 killing of Oakland police officer John Frey. Newton's conviction was reversed in 1970. He was suspected of, though not charged with, killing a 17-year-old girl in 1974.

Adams selected Sewell after a rigorous selection process in which she took part in a mock press conference at which she responded to questions about a white police officer's shooting of an unarmed black man, CBS New York reported. Sewell will be the first woman and the third black person to oversee the country's largest police department.

Adams's office did not respond to a request for comment.