New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he wants to “expeditiously” release body camera footage from police incidents, including a pair of outer-borough shootings that left two men dead at the hands of police Saturday evening, so people “can see what these cops are up against.”
In both cases, the mayor said, officers were responding to a serious threat that could have harmed innocent people.
“These tapes, I think if the public starts to see the footage – you would be shocked what these ladies and gentlemen are doing every day,” said Adams, himself a former NYPD officer.
He added, “Whatever the rules are, I’m going to look over the rules and see what we can do to get [body camera footage] in the hands of people in a more expeditious fashion.”
All police officers regularly assigned to patrol duties throughout the city are equipped with body-worn cameras, the NYPD said. The department publicly releases body camera footage within 30 days of an incident, unless an investigation is in progress or a court issues an order delaying or preventing the release.
Adams, speaking to reporters in the Bronx on Sunday, also said he believes the NYPD officers’ actions in both cases were justified. Adams’ comments came a day after the two deadly incidents, which happened within two hours of each other.
In St. Albans, Queens, the NYPD said a man called 911 from a 116th Avenue home around 6 pm and made violent threats against police officers and elected officials, including Gov. Kathy Hochul. When police arrived and a verbal altercation ensued, the man brandished a gun and exchanged fire with officers that left him dead, according to NYPD Chief of Patrol Jeffrey Maddrey.
An hour and a half later, a NYPD officer found himself in a foot chase up and down Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn with a man who fled a traffic stop. Police say the man shot first at the officer on a busy stretch near the Brooklyn Academy of Music; the officer then returned fire and struck the man in the chest, according to the NYPD.
Adams called the officer in the Brooklyn shooting a “hero.”
“When I looked at that body cam footage, it was unbelievable,” Adams said. “Number one, he ran for several blocks. He was able to meet that threat and terminate that threat so other innocent people were not killed and shot.”
As of mid-day Sunday, police had not officially released the name of either man who was shot and killed.
In the case of the Queens incident, the man who called 911 had “police contact in the past,” according to Maddrey. The man also had “a call for a mental health issue in the past.”
On Sunday, a reporter asked Adams whether police were justified in their response even though the man in Queens had an apparent history of mental illness.
“Heck yes,” Adams said. “The guy called 911 and, as the investigation is going to show, he said some things that clearly advertised violence. Those officers responded, a gun was displayed, and from my preliminary review, rounds were discharged.”
Adams continued: “In front of them, [police] had an individual with a gun willing to use that gun, and they took appropriate action based on what they are trained to do.”