Eric Adams's Fallen Cop Photo Is a Fake

City Hall aides splashed coffee on pic to make it look old, according to New York Times report

New York City mayor Eric Adams (Arturo Holmes/Getty Images)
July 6, 2023

Democratic New York City mayor Eric Adams has repeatedly shown off a picture of a murdered police officer, saying he has kept the picture in his wallet for decades. In reality, the picture was a Google printout that Adams aides altered last year to make it look like "the mayor had been carrying it for some time," the New York Times reported Thursday.

Adams has used the picture to tout his image as tough on crime, saying last year that the killings of two police officers "reminded him of the 1987 line-of-duty death of a friend, Officer Robert Venable," according to the Times report. "I keep a picture of Robert in my wallet," Adams said. One week later, the mayor posed for a picture in which he held up the photo of Venable. He has "repeated the moving anecdote"—and held up the Venable photo—multiple times since.

But the photo "had not actually spent decades in the mayor's wallet," the Times reported. Adams had, in fact, instructed City Hall employees to print out a Google image of the fallen officer and make it look older, "including by splashing some coffee on it." Two former City Hall aides confirmed that "they were informed about the manipulated photo last year, not long after it was created."

This is far from the first time Adams has faced accusations of manipulating the truth. The mayor, who claims to be a vegan, was caught ordering fish only days after he ordered New York City schools to serve only vegan food on Fridays, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

The mayor, who recently gave a six-figure city job to his sister-in-law and compared a woman to a slave owner for opposing rent hikes, has seen his favorability ratings fall, according to a Siena College poll last month. One reason for that drop is his poor polling among black voters: Only 29 percent of black voters in New York State have a favorable view of Adams, the poll found.

Adams spokesman Fabien Levy blasted the Times report, saying it "would be laughable if it were not so utterly offensive." Levy ignored "repeated requests to elaborate about the authenticity of the photo" and "questions about whether the photo was made to look old," according to the Times.