Mayor Eric Adams delivered an apology before reporters Friday at City Hall after a resurfaced video showed the then Brooklyn borough president make comments about his former white colleagues in the NYPD.
The video highlighted in the Daily News shows Adams giving a private address where he referred to white officers by an epithet with a long history of contemptuous reference to white people.
“Every day in the police department, I kicked those c------s’ a--,” Adams is heard saying in the video.
The soon-to-be-mayor made the comments at a private event in Dec. 2019 hosted by the Harlem Business Alliance, the paper reported. Adams would publicly declare his bid to be New York City mayor the following November.
“Man, I was unbelievable in the police department with 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement,” he continued, referring to the organization of Black NYPD officers he co-founded. “I became a sergeant, a lieutenant, and a captain. You know the story. Some people, all of a sudden, are trying to reinvent me. But the reality is what I was then is who I am now.”
Answering questions from reporters following an unrelated briefing at City Hall Friday afternoon, the mayor acknowledged the past comments and offered an apology.
"Someone asked me a question using that comment and, playing on that word, I responded in that comment," Adams said. "But clearly it is 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."
The original video capturing the mayor's 2019 remarks was published to YouTube on Tuesday by Thomas Lopez-Pierre, a local activist, who told the Daily News he thought the mayor's comments were "were par for the course."
“This is how Black people talk. To us, it was family. We were having a conversation with family,” Lopez-Pierre said.
Around the time of the mayor's public apology Friday afternoon, the police department's largest union came to Adams' defense.
“Whenever a controversial video of a police officer surfaces online, we ask for fairness instead of a rush to outrage. We will apply the same standard here. We have spoken with Mayor Adams about this video. 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," Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch said.
"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," the statement concluded.