‘I like his style’: Mayor Adams defends NYPD chief of patrol amid social media controversy

NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell
NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell
File photo/Dean Moses

Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday praised NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell, saying he likes “his style,” amid widespread criticism of Chell’s use of his official social media account to attack perceived critics of the department.

Adams made the May 28 remarks during his weekly news conference in response to a question about Chell recently appearing on the talk show Dr. Phil Primetime, where he seemed to blame rising crime stats on newly arrived migrants. While the interview aired recently, Deputy Mayor for Communications Fabien Levy said Chell traveled to Texas to record it two months ago.

The mayor heaped praise upon Chell and other top NYPD brass who have found themselves in hot water for their recent behavior online and over their responses to pro-Palestinian protests — including Deputy Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry.

“I’m a fan of Chief Chell, you know, I just like his style,” Adams said. “He’s very honest and candid and I know people are not used to people being honest and candid. I think he’s a hard worker.”

Mayor Adams speaking at microphone, side profile
Mayor Eric Adams speaking at a City Hall event on May 28, 2024.NYC Mayoral Photography Unit

Adams also defended Chell’s migrant comments, noting that the chief emphasized it was only a small number of the nearly 200,000 newcomers who have arrived in the city over the past two years who are responsible for the increase in certain crimes, like robberies and shootings.

“Let’s be honest, [out of] the whole 185,000, we’re talking about a small majority of these people, I don’t want to paint a broad brush,” Chell told Dr. Phil on the show.

While Adams himself has called for more power to coordinate with federal authorities over deporting migrants suspected of committing serious crimes, which is currently blocked by the city’s sanctuary city policy, he has also stressed that only a small number of new arrivals are responsible for the offenses being highlighted.

The mayor went on to commend Chell, Daughtry and NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban for what he described as their efforts to quell crime across several categories.

“What I know about Chief Chell and Kaz Daughtry and Caban and that team over there, two, three, four a.m. in the morning, they lead from the front,” he said. “They are on the street. They want to protect the people of the city that they love.”

The mayor’s comments come as Chell and Daughtry have both been under fire from the City Council and advocates over their aggressive push to go after those who criticize the department on the social media platform X — formerly known as Twitter.

The two NYPD bosses have fired back at council members, activists and journalists whom they see as unfairly maligning the police department.

Chell, Daughtry and Chief of Transit Michael Kemper used social media to go after Daily News columnist, and editor with THE CITY, Harry Siegel for a March column he wrote that was critical of the department’s handling of transit crime.

Additionally, Chell used his X account to challenge progressive lawyer and activist Olayemi Olurin to debate him at the funeral of murdered NYPD officer Jonathan Diller and seemingly to call on voters to boot left-leaning City Council Member Tiffany Cabán from office.

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams has taken particular exception with the NYPD brass’ online behavior and recently said she has been told by many rank-and-file cops that they are “embarrassed” by it. She also asked the Department of Investigation’s Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD to launch a probe into the chiefs’ use of social media, which it did earlier this month.