During last night’s New York City mayoral debate, five candidates were asked if they would take guns away from NYPD officers. Maya Wiley, who has made police reform a primary focus of her campaign, said that the mayor’s No. 1 job is “safety” and that she intends to keep New Yorkers safe if elected, adding, “that does mean we want smart policing.”
Prompted again on whether she would prevent officers from carrying guns, Wiley said, “I am not prepared to make that decision in a debate. I am going to have a civilian commissioner and a civilian commission that is going to hold the police accountable and make sure we’re safe from crime, but also from police violence.”
During a press conference Friday, her rival Eric Adams, a former police officer himself, called Wiley’s words “alarming.”
“No one is seriously talking about taking guns away from cops. Of course I don’t support that. Here’s why Eric is lying about my position: because he wants to hide what he thinks,” Wiley responded in a statement. “Eric thinks the solution to every problem is a badge and a gun. He wants people carrying guns into churches and says when he’s Mayor he’s going to be packing heat.”
She continued, “Sometimes armed police are the solution, but some problems we actually make worse when we bring in a cop who isn’t trained for the situation rather than a mental health specialist who can actually keep everyone safe. Not to mention serious investments in schools and afterschool programs, jobs and job training.”
This war of words between the two candidates comes as Wiley’s campaign has received a boost from several significant endorsements in recent days.
When Wiley was endorsed by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez last Saturday, Adams was quick to make his feelings known.
“Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Maya Wiley want to slash the police department budget and shrink the police force at a time when Black and brown babies are being shot in our streets, hate crimes are terrorizing Asian and Jewish communities, and innocent New Yorkers are being stabbed and shot on their way to work,” Adams said in a statement shortly after the endorsement was made public.
Wiley fired back with a statement of her own, saying “It’s easy to see why Tucker Carlson, Rudy Giuliani, Fox News and the PBA all keep praising Eric Adams: because he’s using their talking points.”
She added, “It is particularly troubling that Eric Adams is echoing the arguments we’ve seen all around the country from Republicans attacking Black candidates by perpetuating the myth that they can’t keep their communities safe.”