This wasn’t about cryptocurrency, or nepotism, or his portrayal on “Saturday Night Live,” or any of the other quirky issues that have highlighted new mayor Eric Adams‘ first three weeks in office.
This was about pain, and grief, and anger and suffering, and the righteous indignation that comes with a vile and brazen attack on the city.
And make no mistake, no matter how you feel about police brutality, or stop-and-frisk, or any other blatant civil rights violation, when people decide to pull a trigger with a cop in front of a gun, they have taken a shot at us all.
“It is our city against the killers,” Adams said Friday, just hours after NYPD Officer Jason Rivera, 22, was shot to death and his partner, Officer Wilbert Mora, 27, was gravely wounded. while answering a domestic dispute call with another officer in Harlem.
“This was just not an attack on three brave officers,,” Adams said. “This was an attack on the city of New York. It is an attack on the children and families of this city.”
We’ve seen Adams on the subway, on a Citi Bike, on CNN, anywhere he can be a cheerleader for the greatest city in the world.
But when we saw him Friday in the lobby of Harlem hospital, surrounded by more than a hundred devastated cops, just a block or so away from the first-floor apartment where two of their brothers were gunned down, Adams wasn’t leading any cheers.
He was declaring war on violence, war on apathy, war on anybody who would shoot someone sworn to protect and serve, war on anyone who would shoot a baby in the face.
War on guns, the companies that make them and the criminals who put them on our streets.
“A gun on our street is a threat to our safety,” Adams said. “And we must do everything possible to remove that gun.”
Adams didn’t need to remind the city of his resume, the 22 years he spent as an NYPD officer.
He didn’t say it, but it had to be going through his mind that what happened to Jason Rivera, what happened to Wilbert Mora could have easily happened to him any one of the dozens of times he crossed someone’s threshold on a dreaded domestic call.
Adams would also be the first to tell you that his greatest achievement as a cop wasn’t retiring as a captain.
It was making it through each shift alive.
“I thank everyone who wears the uniform I wore,” Adams said.
It was even refreshing under the circumstances to see him standing shoulder to shoulder with Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, who for nearly a decade has had a frosty relationship with City Hall.
Lynch and his members weren’t turning their backs on Adams.
A passionate Lynch was right to say that New Yorkers who don’t wear the uniform need to pay their respects to Rivera at his funeral.
“We will stand patch to patch and bury our brother,” Lynch said “We will bow our heads in sadness, but we need you, too. The street can’t just be full of New York City police officers at this funeral. The public has to come.”
Adams knew this day would come, when he’d be sitting in a hospital waiting room and comforting a cop’s grieving family. We all knew. It comes with the job.
We just didn’t think it would happen so soon, and that the cop we would mourn would be one of five shot in just the first first three weeks of the year.
We’re still not used to saying “2022″ yet.
So, yes, it was probably wrong for Adams to put his brother on the payroll, and he needs to stop meddling with the City Council, but if you need a leader to bring the city together when one of its Finest has fallen, Adams, like no mayor before him, is more than up for the job.
Let’s hope he never has to do it again.