Eric Adams on projected win, curbing crime and ending “inequalities”

Eric Adams may soon be the next mayor of America’s biggest city. In the race to choose New York City’s next mayor, the Associated Press projected Adams as the winner of the Democratic primary on Tuesday. He leads former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia by just over 8,000 votes. Garcia conceded to Adams on Wednesday morning. 

Adams will face Republican Curtis Sliwa in November’s general election. As the Democratic nominee, he would be the favorite to win, becoming the second Black mayor in New York’s history.

In his first national interview since being projected as the Democratic primary winner, Adams told “CBS This Morning” that New York City is going to be an example for the rest of the country once he is elected.

“New York is going to show America how to run cities. Because I know how to run the city. I know how to lead,” Adams said.

Adams is Brooklyn’s top elected official, a former state senator, and a retired police captain. His law enforcement background is something that has been closely analyzed by Democrats, but Adams believes it’s something that sets him apart. Adams has made crime the central issue of his candidacy, and he believes he can balance rising crime all the while ensuring racial justice and equality.

“You know, people always introduce me as a former police captain. But the uniqueness of this moment — I call it Esther 4:14, God made me for such a time like this,” Adams said. “I was arrested, I was assaulted by police officers. I didn’t say woe is me, I said, ‘Why not me?’ I became a police officer, I understand crime, and I also understand police abuse. And I know how we can turn around not only New York but America. We’re in a terrible place, and we can turn this country, this city around.”

On the same day that Adams’ projected victory was announced, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared gun violence a statewide “disaster emergency.” To date, New York City has seen 765 shootings in the city, compared to 555 shootings during the same time last year, CBS New York reported. 

Adams told “CBS This Morning” co-host Tony Dokoupil that disparities within American communities are contributing to the surge in gun violence across the nation.

“You may have witnessed the national numbers or the city-wide numbers, but you still have the crevices of gun and gang violence in communities year after year after year. So the larger numbers may decrease, but you still have the Brownsvilles, the South Side of Chicagos, the Comptons, the Atlantas. We’ve ignored them because we were prospering better economically, we still had systemic poverty in our cities,” he said.

While Adams said it isn’t clear what Cuomo’s declaration would do for the city, he believes the additional resources could help fight the root cause of gun violence.

“It’s going to allow the easiest accessibility to finance and money. We need to teach, treat gun violence as a public health emergency. Every agency in the city, in this country, must be part of dealing with gun violence because if we deal with the gun violence, we’re going to start dealing with the feeders of violence. We’ve ignored that for far too long,” he said.

If Adams is elected, he will have a lot of work to do. The city is home to more than eight million people, and last year it saw one of the worst COVID-19 outbreaks in the nation. Countless people and businesses are still struggling financially after more than a year of pandemic shutdowns. Adams said the way New York can recover is ending the social inequalities that city and its residents have long been plagued with.

“We have to end inequalities and those inequalities are real. We can not continue to ignore that they exist. It really hurts folks like you and I because listen, let’s be clear, we are sheltered from the real abuse that our country is witnessing,” he said. “There is a permanent group of people living in systemic poverty. You and I, we go to a restaurant, we eat well, we take our Uber. But that’s not the reality for America in New York. So when we turn this city around, we’re going to end these inequalities.”