Tensions between Mayor Eric Adams and the City Council over the How Many Stops Act reached a boiling point on Tuesday with political drama unfolding when proponents of the bill attempted to stage a press conference in the City Hall rotunda — only to get a hassle from the mayor’s representatives.
Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and City Council members supporting the act — which would require NYPD officers to provide written reports on certain interactions with members of the public — staged the press conference at City Hall on Jan. 23. At first, the event was scheduled to be outside, but inclement weather forced the organizers to move the event indoors to the rotunda.
But that’s where both the elected officials, organizers and reporters there to cover the event ran into the mayor’s security team and City Hall workers, who seemingly did everything possible to keep the conference out of the location.
Attending journalists were pulled in all directions like ragdolls as security guards representing the mayor told the press to pack up their cameras and leave the iconic building while those representing the council informed the media to dig their feet in the ground and stay.
City Hall workers later attempted to remove chairs journalists were sitting upon, then refused to turn on overhead lights for the scheduled press conference — leaving everyone symbolically in the dark.
Williams seethed at the apparent display of gamesmanship, alleging the City Stall staff acted on behalf of the mayor in an apparent effort to bully the How Many Stops Act supporters.
“It’s been proven that he [Mayor Adams] is very often the bully that he’s speaking about, particularly when he’s not getting his way,” Williams said on the attempt to hinder the press conference. “He’s tried to use merit to get what he wants, it just doesn’t work because he’s wrong. Certainly he has to make stuff up, and that’s unfortunate.”
Mayor Adams, for his part, defended the City Hall staff for their efforts to “maintain control in the rotunda area,” charging that the City Council did not inform him that they would be using the lobby to address the press.
“We’re going to sit down as we did with the public advocate, we’re gonna sit down with the speaker, the team is going to sit down and really coordinate how you properly control using the space there in the rotunda area,” Mayor Adams said. “Historically, there were letters sent out to us requesting use of the space, that was not done this time. And so, we’re gonna communicate, so that we could be good tenants together in this building.”
In vetoing the How Many Stops Act Friday and during a press conference Sunday, Mayor Adams reiterated his opposition to the bill, claiming it would bog down NYPD officers in unnecessary paperwork to document minor interactions with the public. Police officials have agreed, saying the extra documentation would severely compromise police efforts to keep the city safe. City Council supporters have said Mayor Adams and the NYPD have engaged in misinformation about the bill — something which the mayor himself accused the City Council of practicing.
The Council’s press conference ultimately went on despite the tussle. Speaker Adams — still seething over the press conference imbroglio — wasted little time in pledging to override Hizzoner’s veto.
How Many Stops Act supporters charged that the mayor is exaggerating regarding how incumbent the paperwork will be on cops. The speaker and public advocate stated that simple encounters such as greetings will not be required to be documented, merely larger scale level 1 or 2 investigative stops will be required to be reported upon.
“The choice is clear: We must work to end the legacy of harm that has subjected too many of our friends, neighbors and family members to discriminatory treatment,” Speaker Adams said. “We stand united in support of this important reform and against the mayor’s veto. And we look forward to overriding it together.”
Mayor Adams again called the bill “wrong” Tuesday, doubling down on his argument that the bill would damage police work and cause safety issues for the public.
“For someone to say that this is wrong for Black and Brown communities, I say yes, it is wrong for Black and Brown communities, because we’re taking the police off the streets and we’re putting it behind the desk. And that’s not what we should be doing,” Mayor Adams said.
The City Council can move to override the mayor’s veto on the How Many Stops Act once they receive it officially from his office at their next stated meeting, on Feb. 8. After that point, a City Council spokesperson explained, a 30-day clock will start during which the Council’s Public Safety Committee would have to vote to re-approve the bill, then send it back to the full 51-member body for a final vote.
Under city law, a two-thirds majority of the sitting members is required to override a mayoral veto.