Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics



  • Drake Fans, NYPD Promos, and the Unregulated New York Surveillance State

    A crime briefing at 1 Police Plaza (photo: Benny Polatseck/Mayoral Photography Office)

    When thousands of New Yorkers went to see Drake at the Apollo last weekend, the last thing they wanted was to see the NYPD recording them, butthat’s just what happened on Saturday as they emerged from the historic theater into the view of officers’

  • Nearly A Year In, No Sign of Adams' Promised NYPD Watchlist

    Mayor Adams with NYPD officials (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

    In his first nearly twelve months in office, Mayor Eric Adams has shown no signs of moving on a major campaign promise to publish a list of police officers the NYPD is watching for violent or otherwise unseemly behavior.

    The promise was one of the more striking commitments the would-be mayor made to boost accountability within the ranks of the police force, a department of 34,000 uniformed officers. It was also one of the more tangible pledges Adams made to demonstrate his commitment to balancing police reform with

  • Police Have Removed Over 1,300 'Emotionally Disturbed People’ from Transit in 2022; Where Did They Go?

    Mayor Adams on the subway (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography office)

    In the first 11 months of the year, the NYPD removed 1,300 people suffering symptoms of mental illness from the city's transit system, often against their will. The city is unable or unwilling to say what happened to them next.

    "Dealing with people who have mental health illnesses must be a focus of any plan moving forward," Mayor Eric Adams said at an October 22 announcement of a new subway safety campaign with Governor Kathy Hochul, dubbed Cops,

  • 'The Dirty Little Secret No One Tells You': New York ATF Chief Details Roadblocks and Progress in Fight to Disrupt Gun Violence

    A gun seizure (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

    When talking about gun violence in northeastern states like New York, elected and law enforcement officials often say that guns arrive via the “Iron Pipeline,” short-hand for the I-95 corridor where firearms smuggled from southern states with laxer gun laws to the northeast.

    But the reality is much more complex, according to John B. DeVito, Special Agent in Charge of the New York office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

    During remarks Thursday at a conference hosted by City & State New York,

  • A New Deal for Public Safety

    A street renaming (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

    New York City is experiencing multiple overlapping public safety crises. The city has crisis levels of homelessness, record levels of drug overdoses, ongoing COVID-19 challenges, and widespread concerns about evictions, wage theft, climate change, and more — but the city agencies doing the most significant hiring are police and corrections.

    We need new investments in producing safe, healthy, and economically secure communities that will also create thousands of new jobs for New York City residents. We propose the creation of a New

  • 'We Will Not Surrender Our City': Eric Adams' Tough First Month as Mayor

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    Mayor Adams at the scene of a deadly Bronx fire (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)

    Mayor Eric Adams had a hectic and tragic first month in office, responding to several devastating deadly incidents, establishing a new tone out of City Hall, and overseeing a shaky transition beset by questions about several appointments and punctuated by praise for others.

    In the wake of a Bronx fire that killed at least 17 New Yorkers, the murder of a teenage cashier during a robbery in Harlem, a deadly subway pushing in Times Square, an 11-month-old baby

  • A Key Lesson of the Harlem Police Shooting

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    A vigil for police officers Rivera and Mora (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)

    Mayor Adams' Blueprint to End Gun Violence, just released with much fanfare, represents, regrettably, an old-wine-in-a-new-bottle agenda overly-reliant on punitive law enforcement tactics. The mayor seeks to roll back bail reform and criminalize more young people, and will return to our streets the notorious plainclothes NYPD units responsible for the deaths of Eric Garner, Sean Bell, and others. These measures would do nothing to prevent the shocking kind of tragic incident that

  • ‘The New Commissioner Really Has Her Work Cut Out For Her’: Adrienne Adams on Police Reform, Running for City Council Speaker, and More


    City Council Member Adrienne Adams (photo: John McCarten/City Council)

    The New York Police Department needs a major culture shift, according to City Council Member Adrienne Adams, a Queens Democrat who chairs the Council’s public safety committee, and incoming Mayor Eric Adams can lead the way.

    Speaking at length on a recent episode of the Max Politics podcast from Gotham Gazette, Adams outlined key takeaways from a series of oversight hearings she has chaired and

  • Rewriting the History of 2020 Crime

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    NYPD Commissioner Shea & Mayor de Blasio (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    We’re seeing history rewritten before our eyes, the heartbreaking death toll of 2020 turned into another political talking point. This time, it’s not COVID-19 fatalities, but the grotesque murders and other violent crimes that impacted so many last year. But while those crimes are all too painfully real, the narrative around this once-in-a-lifetime crime spike is completely fake, and it’s an insult to the memory of those we lost.

    Even before

  • Max Politics Podcast: City Council Member Adrienne Adams on NYPD Oversight, Running for Speaker, & More

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    City Council Member Adrienne Adams (photo: Emil Cohen/City Council)

    October 26, 2021 - Max Politics Podcast: City Council Member Adrienne Adams on NYPD Oversight & More

    City Council Member Adrienne Adams, a Queens Democrat, joined the show to discuss her work chairing the Council's public safety committee, including recent NYPD oversight hearings, her bid to become the next Speaker of the City Council, and more.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think, on Twitter ...

  • Differing Visions for Public Safety in Western Queens City Council Race

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     Tiffany Cabán, left, and Felicia Kalan

    As in many other races in New York City this election cycle, public safety is the defining issue in the general election in Queens’ City Council District 22, where a rising leftist political star who wants to abolish prisons and the police is facing a Republican pitching a far more conserative approach and ‘common sense’ moderation in the overwhelmingly Democratic district.

    The major party nominees are Tiffany Cabán, a democratic socialist and former public defender who won the Democratic

  • Ubiquitous Surveillance and Civil Rights Infringements: A Tragic Legacy of 9/11

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    NYPD counterterrorism (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

    The tragic impacts of the September 11 attacks stretch far beyond the nearly three thousand people who lost their lives that day 20 years ago. 

    Over the last two decades, government forces have trampled on civil rights and liberties in the name of 9/11. Deeply entrenched aspects of our society like the ubiquitous surveillance state that follows us wherever we go, the military mission creep that’s infected our domestic law enforcement, and the unbridled police power that

  • Effort to 'Defund the NYPD' Appears Stalled Ahead of De Blasio's Final Budget

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    De Blasio and the NYPD (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)

    Even though cutting NYPD funding has become a popular position among many candidates running for mayor, City Council, and other offices this year, the city’s current leadership seems unlikely to embrace any significant cuts to the police department in the upcoming budget amid a sustained increase in gun violence and a glut of federal funding.

    “The voters of this city overwhelmingly, I'm convinced, want a balance. They want reform. They want non-discriminatory policing. They want respectful

  • A Resounding No to Deadly No-Knock Warrants

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    NYPD (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

    As a City Council Member and Chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, I understand that people need to feel safe, particularly in their homes. One aspect of this safety is an assurance that authorities will not haphazardly burst in. This is enshrined in the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which grants everyone freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. That means there must be probable cause to raid a home.

    However, the NYPD and other law enforcement agencies seem to think

  • For Truly Meaningful Progress on Police Discipline and Accountability, New York City Needs Albany’s Help

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    NYPD recruits (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography)

    An officer slams a driver on the hood of a car during a traffic stop, then punches the driver’s sister twice in the face, and escapes punishment. Another officer draws his gun on an 11- and a 13-year-old playing in a city park, and sees the charges against him dismissed without trial. A lieutenant ...

  • Rightsizing the Police Budget will Enable a Safer, Healthier and More Equitable City

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    NYPD (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)

    On April 26, Mayor de Blasio presented his executive budget plan for the city’s next fiscal year, FY22, which begins July 1. In it, he included slight increases to the NYPD’s budget. This comes on the heels of the largest civil rights movement in a generation demanding reinvestments and the heartbreaking murders of Adam Toledo and Daunte Wright. If I were in the City

  • Accountability, Respect, and Safety: Policing in New York City After the Chauvin Verdict

    NYPD officers precinct roll call

    NYPD officers (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)

    The conviction of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd provides some comfort to all of us that no one is above the law.

    Patrick Lynch of the Police Benevolent Association (PBA), the union representing front-line New York City police officers, said it clearly. “What Derek Chauvin did that day was not policing,” Lynch said after the verdict was announced. “It was murder.”

    The verdict has re-energized a debate, nationally and here in New York City,

  • 30 Years After Rodney King, Bracing for Another Set of Verdicts

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    NYPD leaders (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)

    The early 1990s trial of the Los Angeles police officers accused of assaulting Rodney King was the first major police trial involving videotape evidence of the police actions. King had led the police on a high-speed car chase subsequent to being suspected of driving while intoxicated. The approximately 13-minute video showed police officers repeatedly kicking and striking King with batons.  

    The trial of the four accused officers ended on April 29, 1992 with an

  • 'Wholly Unacceptable': City Council 'Deeply Concerned and Frustrated' with De Blasio Delay on Cuomo-Ordered Police Reform Plan

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    Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner Shea (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)

    Update, March 5, 2021: Shortly after the publication of this story and after having declined to comment for the story over multiple days, the de Blasio administration on Friday released the first of a three-part draft plan with 36 proposals. "The plan will now move through a public comment period where it will undergo further revision based on the feedback of the public and through a process with

  • For True Public Safety, We Must Fight Crime and Its Root Causes

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    NYPD (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)

    As a business leader, a Democratic candidate for mayor of New York City, and a Black man, I know what it means to have multiple identities. While I may be Mr. McGuire in the boardroom, every time I change into a sweatsuit to run or play basketball, I know that I’m first and foremost a six-foot-four, two-hundred-something-pound Black man. 

    I am also the father of an 8-year-old son who I fear one day could be the next Tamir or Trayvon. My wife Crystal and

  • The Attorney General’s Lawsuit Against the Mayor and NYPD is a Needed Option

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    The Mayor and PC Shea (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)

    Last month, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a groundbreaking lawsuit against the City and the NYPD “to end the pervasive use of excessive force and false arrests by the NYPD against New Yorkers in suppressing overwhelmingly peaceful protests.” The suit was in response to the NYPD’s use of force at last summer’s racial justice protests. The complaint alleges multiple examples of excessive force, and presents a detailed critique of the NYPD’s handling of both the

  • Max & Murphy Podcast: Balancing Police Reform and Fighting Crime

    NYPD briefing

    The mayor and NYPD officials (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)

    February 3, 2021 - Max & Murphy Podcast: Balancing Police Reform and Fighting Crime

    Richard Aborn of the Citizens Crime Commission of NYC joined the show to discuss police reform and keeping the city safe, including a new set of recommendations from his group.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter @TweetBenMaxand ...

  • Max & Murphy Podcast: The Police Reform Movement's Goals for 2021

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    NYPD recruits (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)

    February 3, 2021 - Max & Murphy Podcast: The Police Reform Movement's Goals for 2021

    Kesi Foster of Communities United for Police Reform Action Fund joined the show to discuss what's next for the police reform movement in New York City, especially the next city budget fight and the 2021 city elections.

    Listen to the conversation and let us know what you think -- we're on Twitter @TweetBenMaxand ...

  • City Council Jumps Into Police Reform Action Amid De Blasio Delay in Meeting Cuomo Mandate

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    Mayor de Blasio & NYPD officials (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)

    When Governor Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order in June mandating that localities set blueprints for broad police reform or risk losing state funding, he tasked mayors and other municipal leaders to engage the public and local legislatures in a collaborative reform process. Now, in response to delays and limited communication from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration, the New York City Council has signaled that it will move ahead with its own police reform agenda to meet

  • Video Brief: Policing and the 2021 Election

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    Mayor de Blasio with NYPD Commissioner Shea and officers (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)

    As the 2021 New York City elections unfold, voters will want to hear from candidates for Mayor, City Council, and other offices on a wide variety of issues. In this video brief, hosts Ben Max of Gotham Gazette and Jarrett Murphy of City Limits reset the discussion on policing and other aspects of the criminal justice system, and how it may factor into this year's races: