New York City’s mayor-elect has calmly responded after a self-described Black rights activist threatened to unleash “riots” and “bloodshed” upon the city.
“If they think they are going to go back to the old ways of policing, then we are going to take to the streets again,” the activist, Hawk Newsome, said after a meeting with Mayor-Elect Eric Adams. “There will be riots. There will be fire and there will be bloodshed.”
On Thursday, Mr Adams gave a firm response.
“That’s silly,” the incoming mayor said, according to Fox 29 Philadelphia. “I think New Yorkers should not allow rhetoric like that… This city is not going to be a city of riots.”
Mr Newsome is a chairperson of an organisation called BLM Greater New York, but the original Black Lives Matter group has made it very clear he does not speak for them.
“Hawk Newsome has no relation to the Black Lives Matter Global Network (‘BLM’) founded by Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi – and is not the ‘president’ of BLM or any of its chapters,” BLM said last year in a strongly worded statement. “As BLM has told Mr Newsome in the past, and as is still true today, Mr Newsome’s group is not a chapter of BLM and has not entered into any agreement with BLM agreeing to adhere to BLM’s core principles.”
Nevertheless, Mr Newsome somehow managed to score a meeting with New York’s new mayor, after he and other activists marched outside his Brooklyn Borough Hall office. The conversation was reportedly tense.
“You’re holding me accountable? I’m holding you accountable,” Mr Adams reportedly told the group. “You’re on the ground. Stop the violence in my community. I’m holding you accountable.”
Mr Adams, a former NYPD captain, ran for mayor on an anti-crime platform, and has pledged to bring back a plainclothes police unit to crack down on illegal guns.
That agenda has apparently rubbed Mr Newsome the wrong way.
“There’s no way we’re going to let some Gestapos come in here and harm our people,” the activist said. “We pray for peace, but Black opportunities prepare for the worst.”
Mr Newsome also threatened to make trouble for Mr Adams.
“We have people in City Council who can create problems for him,” he said. “We have people in the streets who can create problems for this administration.”
On Thursday, Mr Adams made it clear he isn’t budging.
“They know who I am. I ran on a very clear message: my city will not be unsafe,” the mayor-elect told FOX 5 NY. “That is what I promised to New Yorkers and that is what I’m going to deliver.”
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