The new plainclothes NYPD unit created to tackle gun violence in the city will not behave at all like the department’s previous discredited anti-crime force, New York Mayor Eric Adams told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Tuesday.
"We are going to learn from the past so we don't repeat the past, and we will never use, under my administration, any abusive targeted tactics that goes after people based on their ethnicity and where they live," Adams said a day after introducing his plan to reduce violent crime.
Adams, a former NYPD captain, vowed that such abuse "is not going to happen under my administration."
The previous 600-person, undercover anti-crime unit was done away with in 2020 by former Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, who said that the officers in the unit accounted for a "disproportionate" amount of "complaints and shootings" compared to the rest of the force, according to the New York Post.
Adams promised that the new unit, called "Neighborhood Safety Teams," will be "real guardrails" in preventing police misconduct.
He added that it will be mandatory for officers to turn on their body cameras while dealing with the public and also to wear clothing, such as windbreakers, that will make them readily identifiable as policemen, insisting that there will be more training and discipline to ensure such behavior when needed.
Adams told "Morning Joe" that in the previous unit "too many officers were turning off their cameras when they had interactions with civilians — that is not happening anymore."
In other interviews Adams gave on the subject, he reiterated that "we are not going to have tactics used in this city that will be abusive to any New Yorker in general, specifically to black and brown men," according to the New York Post.
He added, "This is going to be a unit that is going to zero in on guns and gangs and violence," and that the teams will be deployed to the 20 most dangerous neighborhoods over the next three weeks.
Since the inauguration of Adams as mayor on Jan. 1, there have been numerous violent incidents, with the most recent one happening over the weekend when rookie officer Jason Rivera was shot dead while responding to a domestic violence call in Harlem.
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell announced that Rivera's partner, Wilbert Mora, who was critically wounded in the incident, died of his wounds on Tuesday.
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