A Black Lives Matter leader is threatening "riots," "fire," and "bloodshed" if New York City's mayor-elect follows through on his campaign pledge to bring back plainclothes police officers, according to the New York Post.
"If they think they are going back to the old ways of policing, then we're going to take to the streets again," New York BLM cofounder Hawk Newsome said following a heated discussion Wednesday night with Eric Adams. "There will be riots, there will be fire, and there will be bloodshed."
Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and a former NYPD captain, promised during his campaign to be tough on crime as New York City's next mayor, which he said would include bringing back an undercover police unit. Following his meeting with Newsome, Adams remained undaunted.
"I made it clear on the campaign trail," Adams told CNN on Thursday morning. "I’m going to put in place a plainclothes gun unit. We must zero in on gun violence in our community. … That was my promise, and I’m going to keep it."
NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea dissolved the undercover unit, which had about 600 officers, in June 2020, citing a "disproportionate" number of police shootings. In 2014, a plainclothes police officer choked Eric Garner to death. Garner's last words, "I can't breathe," became a rallying cry of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Newsome told the Post Adams was "tone deaf" to African Americans' concerns with policing in the city and "didn’t offer a comment on police reform" during their meeting. He also tried to clarify his earlier remarks, saying he was "not threatening" but predicting a "natural response" of New Yorkers to "aggressive oppression."
"We will be at his front door, we will be at Gracie Mansion, we will be in the streets, if he allows these police to abuse us," Newsome said. "I am not threatening anyone. I am just saying that it’s a natural response to aggressive oppression, people will react."
Newsome made similar remarks in June 2020 following the murder of George Floyd, saying on Fox News that "if this country doesn't give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it."
Adams told the Post he believes there will be "safe streets and racial justice," adding that he put his "body on the line" for the city as an NYPD officer.
"If Black lives truly matter, then we must address violence in our communities while we address bias in policing," Adams said. "Yelling and not listening gets us nowhere."
Adams has served as Brooklyn borough president since 2014. He served as an NYPD officer for more than 20 years.