New York City’s mayor is defending the hulking NYPD police officer shown punching a woman square in her face and sending her frail body crashing to the pavement in video footage that has gone viral.
And it’s not just that Mayor Eric Adams stood up for the officers involved, but it’s also how he did it — with nothing but kind and sympathetic words for what critics on social media called police “brutality.”
The unfortunate encounter took place in the Harlem community in upper Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon, but that and the punch are the only real common denominators amid conflicting reports for who started the violence.
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell claimed in a statement that officers were attempting to arrest someone for a “ghost gun” when the woman — identified as 19-year-old Tamani Crum — “began to interfere with the arrest, including striking a detective.” The statement adds that the cop “fended off that interference and struck [Crum] with an open hand.”
That account differs from the video footage circulating on social media that suggests the cop’s hand was actually a balled-up fist.
As purported proof, the NYPD tweeted “body-worn camera footage of the incident” that conveniently doesn’t show whether the officer’s hand was open or closed. But it does show Crum being stopped in her tracks from the powerful blow.
NYPD Officer Kendo Kinsey was later identified as being the cop who punched Crum.
To add further insult to literal injury, not only was Crum arrested and charged with assaulting an officer, resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration but she was also made out by Mayor Adams to be the culprit instead of the victim.
Adams claimed Crum provoked the police and “smacked the police officer,” explaining that “the police officer responded,” according to a transcript of comments the mayor made during a press briefing on Thursday morning.
Adams, a veteran NYPD officer before he entered politics, wasn’t nearly done defending Kinsey and his fellow cops, though.
“I think those officers on the scene showed great restraint,” Adams said, presumably with a straight face.
Adams said the city would be conducting an investigation, but not before he affirmed his allegiance to and with the NYPD and its officers.
“They did what the system called for,” Adams continued with his gushing comments about the officers involved. “They didn’t turn off their body cameras, that’s why we have footage of what happened. I am not going to tell police officers to go out, apprehend dangerous people, and then come later when they did what they were supposed to do and not say you protected the people of this city.”
Adams said the city would “retrain” cops if need be, but suggested that what he saw on the video did not constitute any wrongdoing or misconduct.
“I take my hat off to those who apprehended the suspect, who showed great restraint to do so without discharging their weapons, who followed the rules and kept their video cameras on,” Adams added.
The New York Post reported that Crum was only charged with the misdemeanor obstructing charge during her arraignment before being released on her own recognizance later Tuesday.
Adams’ support of the NYPD has been no secret. That was clear when he kicked off the new year by announcing he would reinstate a previously disbanded, controversial plain-clothes police unit that in the past has been accused of racial profiling to reign in gun violence.
He has also mocked Black Lives Matter and disingenuously suggested the organization is to blame for the very gun violence that he and the NYPD can’t seem to get under control.