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NYC Democratic hopeful Adams to meet with President on gun violence

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams speaks at Borough

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams speaks at Borough Hall on June 9, 2020. Credit: Corey Sipkin

WASHINGTON -- Eric Adams, the Democratic candidate for New York City mayor, is scheduled to meet with President Joe Biden at the White House on Monday as part of a meeting focused on reducing gun violence.

A White House official confirmed to Newsday that Adams will be among a group of local lawmakers and law enforcement officials meeting with Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland to discuss the Biden administration's "strategy to reduce gun crimes." Adams will be attending in his capacity as Brooklyn Borough President.

Adams, who was declared the winner last week in a crowded Democratic primary contest, appeared on the national Sunday morning political talk show circuit, promising to pursue a "coordinated effort" with the White House and the governor’s office in Albany to tackle citywide gun violence if he wins in November.

Reducing gun violence will be a top priority, said Adams, a former NYPD captain, of his plans if he wins the mayoralty in the city's general election in November where he will face Republican candidate Curtis Sliwa, a longtime activist. Adams, who is favored to defeat Sliwa, added that there should be a national examination of "how guns are making their way into our cities."

"I believe, for the first time, we are going to see a coordinated effort between the president, the governor, the mayor, to go after the flow of guns in our city, which is extremely important," Adams said on CNN's "State of the Union."

President Joe Biden, who called Adams last week to congratulate him on his victory, issued a series of executive orders in April aimed at stopping the sale of so-called "ghost guns" that are largely unregulated and can be purchased online for assembly. Cuomo, last week, announced $138 million in new state spending to address the "disaster emergency" of gun violence.

Adams currently serves as Brooklyn Borough president and is a former NYPD captain.

"We want to see the remake of an anti-gun unit that's going to do precision policing, focusing on gangs and guns," Adams told host Jake Tapper, referring to a unit disbanded last year amid complaints of excessive force against civilians.

"We're going to have a coordinated effort to ensure our gun suppression unit receives the resources they deserve," Adams said.

Appearing on ABC’s "This Week," Adams laid out a vision for how he would approach the city’s rank-and-file police officers differently than current Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has had a strained relationship with police union leaders during his time in office.

"We must send the right message to our police departments," Adams said. "We have some amazing officers, we're going to say, ‘I have your back, because you want to have the back of the public.’ And we're going to rid out those officers who should not be part of a noble profession of public safety."

Asked about his support of eliminating qualified immunity policies that shield law enforcement officers from lawsuits stemming from alleged misconduct on the job, Adams said on CNN: "Well, I support it with an asterisk … I don't believe a police officer who is carrying out his job within the manner which he was trained to do so should be open to a lawsuit."

He added: "I don't believe we should be suing officers who are doing their job and some of the hazards of their job, but those who step outside of those boundaries and recklessly carry an act that causes life or serious injury, they should be open to being sued personally."

Sliwa, a Manhattan resident who founded the Guardian Angels, a civilian patrol group, has previously expressed support for preserving qualified immunity for officers, telling Fox News’ Sean Hannity in a televised interview last month that attempts to get rid of the legal protection were a "big problem."

The New York City Police Benevolent Association, the police union for the NYPD’s rank-and-file officers has also opposed eliminating or setting limits to the use of qualified immunity, saying in March that doing so would "chill the operations of law enforcement."

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