NEW YORK — New York City Mayor Eric Adams apologized Friday for comments he made in 2019 calling white NYPD officers “crackers.”
“Clearly it’s a comment that should not be used, and I apologize not only to those who heard it but to New Yorkers because they should expect more from me and that was inappropriate,” Adams said at an unrelated City Hall press conference.
In 2019 remarks at an event with a Harlem business group, Adams said, “Every day in the Police Department, I kicked those crackers’ ass.” The comments were first reported by the New York Daily News, which obtained a video of the remarks.
Adams served in the NYPD for 22 years and retired as a captain in 2006.
On Friday Adams indicated he was asked a question at the event by someone who used the racial epithet and responded by quoting the term.
“My fight in the police department was fighting racism throughout my entire journey, and I was serious about fighting against that and that is what was attached to the question that was asked and that you got my response based on what that question was,” he said.
A Brooklyn minister and civil rights leader urged Adams to join the department in 1984 to try and reform it from the inside and diversify the ranks. He went on to co-found the group 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care while he was on the force.
Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, the union representing 24,000 rank-and-file officers, said members of his organization have spoken with Adams about the video. Lynch cautioned against a rush to judgment on the remarks.
“Whenever a controversial video of a police officer surfaces online, we ask for fairness instead of a rush to outrage,” he said in a statement. “We will apply the same standard here.”
“We have spent far too many hours together in hospital emergency rooms these past few weeks, and we’ve worked together for decades before that,” Lynch added. “A few seconds of video will not define our relationship. We have a lot of work to do together to support our members on the streets.”