Adams praises controversial NYPD unit

Mayor Eric Adams on Monday praised the controversial NYPD unit that has taken heat for its handling of 2020 protests, as police higher-ups continue to dodge City Council inquiries into it.

“I think the [Strategic Response Unit] … [is] an appropriate tool used effectively, just as we use our other agency apparatus to keep bringing down these [crime] numbers,” Hizzoner told “CBS News New York.” “That’s where these [declining] numbers come from. Proper policing, not heavy-handed policing, is moving us in the right direction.”

Adams also defended the NYPD’s no-show at City Council hearings into the unit’s handling of the 2020 protests, claiming there are legal hurdles that prevent the Police Department from sending reps to speak publicly about the unit.

“We always participated in the hearings” when allowed, Adams said. “You can see the number of hearings our agencies have participated in throughout last year, and we’ll continue to do so.”

Mayor Eric Adams spoke with CBS News New York on Monday to address the issues facing New Yorkers, from crime to mental illness.
The NYPD’s Strategic Response Group received praise from Mayor Adams on Monday.

Eric Adams spoke with CBS News New York on Monday to address the issues facing New Yorkers, from crime to mental illness.
Hizzoner said the SRG is an “appropriate tool.”

The unit, which has been tasked with terrorism and protest response, came under fire for the way it handled demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd’s death. It was also tapped last year to provide additional support for 20 of the most crime-addled city precincts.

The City Council has been trying to get police brass to testify before its Public Safety Committee on allegations of abuse by the unit during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, but the NYPD has twice requested that its appearance be postponed.

Protesters and NYPD clash in the Bronx on 136th Street and Brook Avenue.
The controversial unit faced blowback from its 2020 George Floyd protest response.
Stephen Yang

eople attend a rally before a City Council Oversight hearing at City Hall on March 01, 2023 in New York City. Elected officials and advocates held a rally demanding transparency and accountability from NYPD ahead of the first oversight hearing by City Council on the NYPD Strategic Response Group
The SRG unit responds to protests and terrorism threats in the city.
Getty Images

Police brass were again asked to attend the hearings a third time — at a session last week — but continued to avoid appearing.

The same day, news broke that the city would pay out a total of $6 million to the protestors who were kettled and beaten by police during the infamous Mott Haven demonstrations.

The settlement amounts to $21,500 for each of the more than 300 protesters who were confined, with some beaten or pepper-sprayed, by NYPD officers in The Bronx.

It is unclear if any SRG cops were involved in the June 4 incident.