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BOB HERBERT: Hi I'm Bob Herbert. Welcome to Op-Ed. T.V.
New York has seen a series of protests
demonstrations following the deaths at the hands of
police officers of Eric Garner on Staten Island
and Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri.
The city then went through the trauma of the cold blooded
assassination of two police officers by a
deranged man who shot them while they were sitting in
their patrol car and then killed himself. Those
killings lit the fuse of a continuing and bitter
controversy that has pitted angry police
officers against Mayor Bill de Blasio. We are
fortunate this week to be able to explore this
complex and potentially dangerous state of affairs
with the borough president of Brooklyn Eric Adams,
who graduated at the top of his class at the police
academy in 1984, and spent twenty two years as an
officer with the N.Y.P.D. Eric, how are you?
ERIC ADAMS: Thank you.
BOB HERBERT: Thanks for coming in today.
ERIC ADAMS: And it should be a footnote, I graduated
at the top not because of brilliance, endurance-
BOB HERBERT: Endurance, right, which is really an important
issue, you know, when I talk on college campuses I tell
college kids this, persistence and endurance, discipline
is really important, right? So-
ERIC ADAMS: So true, so true.
BOB HERBERT: But I'm sure a certain amount of
brilliance too. So you've been obviously on both
sides of this sort of thing, both as a police
officer within the department and as a public official.
How do we begin to sort out this unfortunate situation?
Do, for example, do the cops have a legitimate grievance
with Mayor de Blasio? What's going on there?
ERIC ADAMS: Well the first order, I believe,
is to understand that it's complex. Many people believe
there's a simplistic response to, how do we have public
safety and how do we ensure that our police
officers are safe and it's not. It is extremely
complex, particularly when you police in certain
communities and what you bring to those policing
environments. And if we don't identify all of them
then we're going to be in this constant state of
just debating with each other and not coming to resolutions.
BOB HERBERT: Now you recently wrote an op-ed piece
in The New York Times that carried the headline
We Must Stop Police Abuse of Black Men.
Now I've covered a tremendous amount over the
years of unwarranted violence by police
officers. I do not contend that that's the norm by
any means but there has been a great deal of it.
But if you talk to police officials they will almost
always tell you that there is very little excessive
force used by cops and almost no racial profiling.
This conflicts with sort of what I've seen in my career.
What's the truth there?
ERIC ADAMS: Well it's more than what you or I or anyone
else has witnessed, the facts speak for themselves.
The reality is, as I am attempting to
show as we have these conversations, is that a
police officer he or she leaves their command with
a tool box full of tools to go and fight crime or
correct conditions. They use the full scope of
those tools in certain communities. And in other
communities they only pull out their hammer.
They immediately go to this use of force. And I think that
is not so much racist as much as a racial society
that we live in. When a police officer is
recruited from that society, he goes to the
police academy with these racial stereotypes and
understanding and no one trains him in the police
academy how to deal with that and how to address
that. So they go on to the patrol with the
misunderstanding that you can just go into a
multicultural, multi diverse community and just
police based on what you know when you didn't
address some real issues that impact us all.
BOB HERBERT: Now you addressed that specifically in your
op-ed article. You wrote, and this is a quote,
"One of my white fellow officers once told me that
if he saw a white individual with a gun, he
took extra care for himself and the individual.
When he saw a black individual with a gun,
he took care only for himself." Now the double
standard could hardly be more stark or explicit
then it was in that paragraph. If the
situation is that bad how do we begin to change it
and who needs to take the lead here?
ERIC ADAMS: And I remember one case in particular in
the transit authority where a white male entered the system
armed with a gun and the officers saw him and
approached him in a very casual manner because,
again, they thought white male equals law
enforcement plus a gun. When you see, when one
sees a black male or Hispanic person they think
immediately gun, person of color, equal criminal.
So that misconception or that pre-disposition cannot
only harm the innocent person but you can also
endanger the officer. So our training must really
focus on the fact that when we come into law
enforcement we're coming in with the years and
years of what we believe is a definition of a
criminal and a definition of an innocent person.
And many of our officers Bob, which is interesting, they
come from communities where it's a monolithic
community. Not only white officers, even black officers,
many black officers may have grew up
in South Jamaica, Queens, Brownsville, Bedford-
Stuyvesant, had no interaction with Asians,
no interaction with Hasidic Jews,
no interaction with Italians and so until we understand
that we live in a monolithic community and
now we have to police in a diverse community, we have
to be trained to acknowledge that and leave
the area of denial. Policing believe that we
don't see color we only see crimes. That is not a reality.
Human beings acknowledge what they see
in front of them and we have to deal with it.
BOB HERBERT: So you mention the incidents where an
officer might see a white fella with a gun and they
think perhaps he's an officer. But we have seen
these so-called friendly fire incidents where
African-American police officers have actually
been fired upon by white officers who saw them and
didn't realize that they were police officers.
So the question becomes, you say that it's a question
of training, the question becomes who should be
responsible for initiating this training, if we have
it now we don't have enough of it, and who
should take the lead politically even outside
of the police department?
ERIC ADAMS: And we don't have enough of it because it has
never been acknowledged before, it has been ignored and I
use the analogy that our law enforcement community
across the globe particularly here in
America we suffer from abuse of law enforcement
abuse intoxication and any time you've taken those
steps towards sobriety, the first thing you have
to do is acknowledge it. We have failed to
acknowledge it. Finally I believe Mayor de Blasio,
Police Commissioner Bratton and Deputy
Commissioner Julian, they're looking at,
we have to acknowledge that we have a problem and take
steps towards sobriety. And that is looking at how
we treat police interactions based on what
communities we are in. And I think we are on the way
to doing that and it starts in the police
academy, very real honest training and how to go out
and deal with police- and then reinforcement.
Because anyone that goes through any form of
getting rid of some form of addiction you know that
it doesn't mean because you do a three day
training that all of a sudden you're not going to
have some of those same problems that got you in
trouble in the first place. It's the constant
retraining so that people don't get caught up in the
everyday life of answering jobs on the street.
BOB HERBERT: Now this is an unusual posture for a high
ranking elected official in the city to take. Why has this not
hurt you or hindered you politically do you think?
ERIC ADAMS: Well I think because people know that during my
time in days in a police department, a career that I
loved I enjoyed so much being a cop. I just thought that
there's no other type of profession I wanted to do,
study and to get promoted and in the department,
moving up from sergeant, lieutenant and then the captain,
was a dream come true for me. And when people knew
how much I enjoyed the career but I was willing to
critique the career because I wanted to make
it better. I thought the uniform and the badge
stood for something and because I was so
vociferous about police reform as a police
officer, then when I got into government and became
a state senator and then the borough president,
I was able to critique policing because people
knew that I was coming from a very honest and
authentic position making the department better.
BOB HERBERT: Now this issue of excessive police violence.
You experienced first hand, you were a victim of
police violence when you were just a teenager.
Can you tell us about that?
ERIC ADAMS: I was fifteen years old at the time.
I was arrested for criminal trespass trespassing and after
the arrest I was assaulted by police officers who,
you know, kicked me in my groin area repeatedly.
And when you think about it you could assault someone
all over the body but to focus on that area,
I thought there were other significant connotations
behind it. And you know for days Bob, I urinated blood and
I was concerned, even today when I think when my son was
born how I was relieved because I actually thought
I would never be able to have children and to see
his birth was you know it relieved me of some of the
demons and, you know, it's amazing some of the demons
you have inside you. So I had a demon in me and the
only way I could get it out was to go in.
BOB HERBERT: To go in to the police department?
ERIC ADAMS: Go in to the police department.
BOB HERBERT: Is that the reason you wanted to be a cop?
ERIC ADAMS: It was a combination.
Reverend Herbert Daughtry, from the House of Lords Church,
he was one of the driving forces that recruited some
young people to become law enforcement members after
there was a terrible shooting in our community
and I jumped at the chance because I realized it was
my opportunity to deal with some of those very
significant issues that I was dealing
with in police and police reform.
BOB HERBERT: You haven't just talked about these issues
I mean you were very proactive even when you were in the
department. You were one of the co-founders
of the group 100 Blacks In Law Enforcement Who Care.
I believe you were once the president of the Grand
Council of the Guardians. Can you tell us what those
two organizations were and what they were trying to achieve?
ERIC ADAMS: A significant legacies that Roger Ables and
so many of the men and women who came before me that paved the
way for those of us in law enforcement. They were
extremely progressive, they wanted diversity in the
police department. They wanted to ensure that police officers
were treated fairly but also treated the people fairly.
In addition to that what was important about those
organizations is that they paved the way. They were a
voice. We looked around Dr. King when he did his
speech in Washington D.C. Present was members of the
Guardian's Association. They played a very important role
in our community. The problem that I'm feeling now is many
of our young people who are of color and they are wearing a
police uniform or law enforcement uniform they
don't really understand the legacy and they're not present
in the moment and history is not going to be kind to
them because many people are asking, where are the
black cops? Who are Hispanic cops during this time?
BOB HERBERT: That was one of the questions I was going
to ask you, why we don't hear more voices from
African-American police officers and other officers of
color when we have some of these terrible situations
developing? So you say that they don't know a great deal
about the history but there must be something else at
work now because they're aware of what's going on right
now why aren't they speaking up?
ERIC ADAMS: Well I think that many of them and I have
had several conversations with active law enforcement officers
to talk about this because many of them believe they
don't have the authority to do so. And if they do
so they would be ostracized. The police is
a paramilitary organization and many who
are there have a desire to fit in. And many of the
commanders and those who are the policy makers,
they have a low tolerance for those who they
consider to be a dissenting voice. You have
to push against that discomfort and you have an obligation,
I believe, as a person of color and as a professional to
talk about those issues that impact how you do your
job and how you're perceived by the public.
BOB HERBERT: Now Mayor de Blasio campaigned on the
whole issue of police reform. He was opposed to the whole
problem of stop and frisk, which you recognize as a
problem long ago. So did I. He was elected by a wide
margin and yet he's done a few things that have really
teed off a lot of police officers. One was he had,
I guess there was a meeting where Reverend Al Sharpton
played a prominent role and the police officers
were not happy about that. Some cops were not happy
because Mayor de Blasio said publicly that he had
had a conversation with his son who is of mixed
race heritage about how he should behave if he's in
an encounter with the police department.
Given everything that's gone on how well, or not well,
do you think the mayor has handled this whole situation?
ERIC ADAMS: I believe he's done great job. I think that
these are and will continue to be extremely uncomfortable
conversations. We had twenty years, eight years of
Mayor Giuliani, twelve years of Mayor Bloomberg, of one style
of policing that was extremely divisive.
When you look at how we did the marijuana policy,
young people smoked marijuana in Park Slope or Park Place
in Brooklyn, as well as on Park Avenue in Manhattan,
yet the form of enforcement was clearly in
one area. I think that Mayor de Blasio touched on
very difficult conversations and we need
to lean into our discomfit, we're going to
come on the other side as better human beings and
better people and we can't avoid these conversations.
BOB HERBERT: Now the flip side has been the behavior
of the police officers since the two officers
were murdered, which was a reprehensible event but I
don't know of anyone who thinks otherwise I mean
across the board people recognize this as a
terrible tragedy. But police officers have since
then have demonstrated, protested against the mayor,
turned back their backs on the mayor on a
number of occasions. There was a police slow down for
a while. As a former police officer what's been
your reaction to that?
ERIC ADAMS: Unfortunate, particularly the actions that
were displayed while in uniform. When you wear that uniform
you are like the Lady Justice where you have a blindfold on.
You don't concern yourself with who's the mayor,
who's the president, you carry out your job.
Police officers have two awesome rights, to take life and
to take freedom. With that you abdicate other rights,
such as, when you have a uniform on you do not
protest or demonstrate in any manner no matter how
much pain you are experiencing. You are
professional and you can never give the signal that
there's a disengagement from the commander in chief,
who's the mayor, and the rank and file
police officers to provide public safety.
BOB HERBERT: Now you mention that the department is a
paramilitary organization. Mayor de Blasio is in fact
the commander in chief. I used to be in the Army.
If we had done anything like turning our backs on the
commander in chief there would have been, you know,
swift discipline in the Army. Are you surprised
that officers were or were not disciplined and do you
think anyone should have been disciplined for
that kind of behavior?
ERIC ADAMS: Yes I was. I was extremely surprised.
That was, in my opinion, that is an unacceptable.
You cannot have a breakdown in the line of authority
because many of the calls you make as a public service safety
person is an immediate call and the rank and file must
know you follow orders. If there's a disagreement on
the order that's something you deal with at a later time.
And I thought someone should have been disciplined
particularly there were officers who were supervisors
who were also turning their back on the mayor at
both funerals. To me that's unacceptable.
That could never happen again in New York City.
BOB HERBERT: Meanwhile we've had the protests that were
going on for a long time, they've waned somewhat since
the tragedy of the police officers being killed.
How effective do you think the protests have been?
Do you think that they've been making progress in
achieving their objectives?
ERIC ADAMS: I subscribe to the belief that there are
three levels of change. One is agitation.
Second is negotiation and the third is legislation.
I think the protesters have done an admirable job of
having a righteous protest, these are the grandchildren
of the civil rights movement, and I believe there's a
numerical minority that has really gotten in the
way of really shaping the narrative. But without them
the overwhelming number of protesters have really been,
should be commended, for peacefully voicing how you
should raise your voice in America. And I think we're in
a good place. Without them I don't believe we would have
witnessed some of the clear movement towards real police
reform and even those protesters who assaulted the two
lieutenants on the Brooklyn Bridge it was
protesters who came forward and assisted the
police in identifying the wrongdoings and so we
should really look at what happened here in New York.
Not Ferguson. I thought Ferguson was too much
violence. You can't say black lives matter while
you're shooting from rooftops. You can't have
it both ways. If black lives matter and white
lives matter and lives matter, I believe all
lives matter, and you have to do it in a peaceful
fashion. If not you're going to really destroy your message.
BOB HERBERT: The police had not been all in agreement
on this issue by any means and we've seen at least
one meeting where Pat Lynch, who's the president of
the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, got into an
argument with some other police officials. He's also going to be
challenged for his leadership of that union.
What is going on inside the department do you have
some sense of that? Is there a split in the
department among officers who are clearly upset with
the mayor and maybe other officers who feel that the
police protests have gone too far?
ERIC ADAMS: And I don't share the belief that Pat Lynch
has been a bad union leader. I think Pat Lynch has been
a good union leader. I think he represents the concerns
of his union members, which is important, that's the
job of a union leader. Where we disagree is that
I don't believe that P.B.A. should direct policy.
That's the role of the mayor and the police commissioner.
And sometimes I think those lines get blurred.
And there's always going to be different opinions on who's
at fault for the lack of union contracts.
Who's at fault for the lack of public safety.
But when you really look at it the mayor has done a good
job around the camera issues, supplying cameras and
technologies for police officers as well as being there for
them when it is needed. We have a new police academy
in the Bronx, it's going to be the state of the art with
some of the best training, and so what may appear as
a split within the police department, as I said
weeks ago when a slowdown took place, these are
professionals. It's one of the best well trained
police departments on the globe. They're going to
come around and realize their job and role is
public safety and they going to get back to doing
that according to their duties.
BOB HERBERT: Now you had a terrific career in the
police department. And then you left the department and
went into politics. What prompted that decision?
What made you want to get into politics?
ERIC ADAMS: Because you can't really sit outside and look
through the window and watch people around a
table making policies that you are concerned about
and I saw firsthand the lack of quality education
and how it impacts on a child's life.
Now I realize that you know even we talk about domestic
violence, of gun violence, the over-proliferation of
guns in our streets, I knew that if you want to
impact change I couldn't be just a captain in one
precinct, in one geographical area. I had to go into
the department, into the politics to do so.
And so when I was elected state senate I was able to not
only complain about stop and frisk, I was it able to
pass legislation that impacted stop and frisk.
I was able to vote on the campaign of fiscal equity and
talk about how do we bring resources to our
community. So instead of complaining, as I tell young
people all the time at colleges, get involved.
You cannot win the game if you're in the bleachers.
Get on the field with everyone else, get dirty, get hit,
get struck but keep moving the ball down the field.
And I thought I had an opportunity to do so in
politics and I'm happy that I did.
BOB HERBERT: I couldn't agree more about the idea of you
want more civic engagement among young people. I think that
that's just so important. I think that's one of the most
important things about the police protests. The issues
obviously that they're protesting are very important
issues but the mere fact that they're involved I think
is very important. So you were in the state Senate-
ERIC ADAMS: Yes.
BOB HERBERT: Now you're the borough president of Brooklyn.
ERIC ADAMS: Yes.
BOB HERBERT: Clearly an obviously ambitious fellow.
What's next on the agenda for Eric Adams?
ERIC ADAMS: Well I think that just as when I was a cop,
probationary cop, moving up through the ranks,
studying hard, going to school at night, my Associates,
my Bachelor's, my master's always done at night it
took me about fourteen years to do so.
Learning each step of the way. I want to spend the next
eight years of learning how to run to borough,
two point six million people, the largest borough,
and then I want to take a crack City Hall you know.
I believe that with my law enforcement experience,
my state experience, my experience in Brooklyn
Borough Hall, I think I could have an opportunity
of being a mayor in the city of New York.
That is my dream. You know you can't merely lay down and
go to sleep and dream and expect for it to happen.
I have to earn it the old fashion way and I think
I'm going to do that. I'm going to give it a good
try and accomplish that skill.
BOB HERBERT: But isn't it unusual for a politician,
the politicians usually say, well I'm focused on this
job. I'm going to do this and that for the next
several years and then you know I'm not really
looking ahead. Well you obviously are looking ahead.
Isn't it unusual for someone to say that I really would like
in the future to take a crack at the mayoralty?
ERIC ADAMS: Well I think two things. Yes it is unusual but
one I wouldn't hire a young attorney who wants to become
a partner one day if he says he just wants to be
an associate. I wouldn't hire a doctor that doesn't have a
vision or dream to run his own practice or a teacher that
doesn't want to be a principal and we can't
continue to tell children to reach for the sky when
we are afraid or ashamed to say what our dreams and
aspirations are. Second I don't think the public no
longer want our leaders who are not clear and
focus on what they want to do. People just really
want honesty. They want you to look them in their
eyes, shake their hand and tell them exactly what
your thoughts and your plans are. It doesn't mean
you will accomplish everything but I just think there's a
different form of leadership that is needed. Our leaders of
today must play the entire game with a no huddle or fence
and still move the ball down the field no matter what
the distractions are in the stands.
BOB HERBERT: Eric Adams borough president of Brooklyn it's
been a pleasure talking with you and I hope you'll come
back and visit with us again.
ERIC ADAMS: Thank you very much.
BOB HERBERT: Thanks so much. We'll be back in a moment
with a final word.
BOB HERBERT: Wise is words amidst the controversy
swirling around the police, the mayor and the
many thousands of protesters have come from
New York City's police commissioner Bill Bratton.
Even as some cops were turning their backs on
Mayor Bill de Blasio at the funeral of slain
officer Rafael Ramos, Bratton was urging all of
us to look closely at one another and acknowledge
the essential humanity we all share. That includes
he said, and I quote, "The police, the people who are
angry at the police, the people who support us but
want us to be better, even a madman who assassinated
two men because all he could see was two uniforms
even though they were so much more. We don't see
each other." Bratton said. "If we can learn to see
each other, to see that our cops are people like
Officer Ramos and Officer Lou, to see that our
communities are filled with people just like them
too. If we can learn to see each other then when
we see each other we'll heal. We'll heal as a
department, we'll heal as a city, we'll heal as a country."
That's all for now. See you next time.
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Bob Herbert's Op-Ed.TV: Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams on Policing NY

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Emon 2020 年 4 月 11 日 に公開
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