New York City’s pro-cop mayor loses high-profile fight over policing legislation

Eric Adams adamantly opposed bills ending solitary confinement and requiring more reporting from police officers. The City Council passed them anyway.
January 30, 2024

New York City Mayor Eric Adams — a former police officer focused on combating crime — found himself in a feud Tuesday with the more progressive City Council over two criminal justice reform bills.

And in this rare instance, Adams lost. Led by a relatively moderate Democrat aligned with the body’s progressive members, the Council delivered a striking rebuke to Adams by overriding two of his vetoes by an overwhelming margin. The votes capped weeks of lobbying and media appearances from officials on both sides of the debate — a flurry of activity exacerbated over the weekend when police pulled over a Council member who’d spent seven years in jail after being wrongly convicted as part of the “Central Park Five.”

With Tuesday’s vote, the Council punctuated the most significant clash yet between the two Democratic-led branches of city government and potentially complicated the mayor’s 2025 reelection bid.

One bill would require police officers to report demographic data on low-level interactions with civilians, which supporters say is necessary to hold the NYPD accountable after its history of racially motivated stops. The other limits the amount of time a detainee spends in isolation in the city’s jail system — a policy criticized by a federal monitor who oversees the notoriously violent Rikers Island facility.

“Today we are standing together as a united front: Council members, advocates and directly impacted families, to send a clear message that New Yorkers need and deserve transparency, and that as a city we can and will do better,” Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said at a City Hall rally before the vote.

Topics: How Many Stops Act