To the Editor: Black Lives Matter (BLM) activists Hawk and Chivona Newsome threatened riots and bloodshed in the streets of New York if Mayor-elect Eric Adams brings back the NYPD plainclothes anti-crime units.
They compared the NYPD to the Gestapo, threaten to shut the city down, and warn New Yorkers to "prepare for the worst."
In a shouting match with Eric Adams, Chivona Newsome, one of the founders of the New York chapter of Black Lives Matter, told Adams that public safety will improve if Adams creates better jobs and education. Practically speaking, creating jobs and education requires government and the private sector to work creatively for years to make a real difference. Adams knows that the high crime and omnipresence of guns in the city require immediate action, and the use of plainclothes officers, a limited form of stop, question and frisk, and an intense focus on high- crime neighborhoods and the subways are essential parts of a successful crime-fighting strategy.
If we listen to people riding the subways or living in high crime areas of the city, they want more police, not fewer, and few other than the "defund the police" radicals want a lesser police presence in the city. With regard to real police reform, I believe that we need to heed the advice of Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC), who said what is most essential for policing in America is that police departments recruit the best men and women for this public-service work. He said that careful recruitment is even more important than training - which is also essential.
According to reports from the closed-door meeting, the BLM activists, Hawk and Chivona Newsome, were furious after the meeting with Adams, saying they heard nothing to indicate that he would reform the NYPD. This retired NYPD Lieutenant didn't hear anything to indicate that these leaders of the NY Black Lives Matter chapter will support efforts to reduce crime right now.
Protesting police abuses is a legally protected First Amendment right, and this will be protected by the NYPD. However, the riots and bloodshed threatened by the BLM leaders (and the looting that accompanies riots) will not be tolerated, and it sounds like the Mayor-elect made that clear to the Newsomes.
In addition to dividing and damaging our city, the talk of riots and bloodshed in the streets feeds the racist strategy and propaganda of the Trumpist Republican Party that uses such frightening and irresponsible talk to motivate its base.
We need responsible leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement who can work with the Mayor, not irresponsible radicals who want to defund the police.
MICHAEL J. GORMAN
Editor's note: Besides being a retired NYPD Lieutenant, Mr. Gorman is an attorney.