The New York Times has exposed New York City Mayor Eric Adams for a political backstory that he has used on the campaign trail. It involves Adams allegedly concocting a story about him carrying a “worn” photo of a fallen officer to give voters the appearance that the mayor was deeply shaken by his tragic loss.
“In Mayor Eric Adams’s first month in office, he was confronted with a tragic crisis: the deaths of two New York City police officers who were responding to a domestic disturbance in Harlem,” the Times wrote.
“Mr. Adams, a former police captain who campaigned as a Democratic crime fighter, quickly sought to humanize the killings,” the Times continued. “The loss of the officers, he said, reminded him of the 1987 line-of-duty death of a friend, Officer Robert Venable.”
“I still think about Robert,” Mr. Adams said at a news conference at City Hall. “I keep a picture of Robert in my wallet.”
“A week later, Mr. Adams posed for a portrait in his office, holding a wallet-size photo of Officer Venable after The New York Times had requested to see it,” the publication added. “Mr. Adams has since repeated the moving anecdote in media interviews and at a Police Academy ceremony last June, where he again displayed Officer Venable’s picture.”
The Times then revealed a troubling backstory behind the officer photo.
“But the weathered photo of Officer Venable had not actually spent decades in the mayor’s wallet. It had been created by employees in the mayor’s office in the days after Mr. Adams claimed to have been carrying it in his wallet,” the Times wrote.
“The employees were instructed to create a photo of Officer Venable, according to a person familiar with the request. A picture of the officer was found on Google; it was printed in black-and-white and made to look worn as if the mayor had been carrying it for some time, including by splashing some coffee on it, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.”
A contentious dispute has since erupted between Mayor Eric Adams and The New York Times over allegations that he lied about carrying the weathered photo of the deceased NYPD comrade in his wallet for many years.
Mayor Adams’s office swiftly went on the defensive, vehemently accusing the outlet of launching a “false attack” against him. They even arranged for several members of Officer Venable’s family to publicly refute the claims.
In a statement, Adams’s spokesman, Fabien Levy, expressed disgust at The New York Times for forcing Venable’s loved ones to relive the tragedy of his murder. Levy accused the newspaper of being fixated on scrutinizing every aspect of the mayor’s life in an unsuccessful attempt to portray him as a liar.
Adams’s office has denied the allegation of photo tampering and asserts that the newspaper initially contacted them on Wednesday, claiming that the mayor and the deceased officer were never actually friends.
In a statement, the mayor’s office clarified that while the Times’ initial inquiry mentioned a photo, the main focus of their request and subsequent written questions centered around the newspaper’s assertion that there was no genuine relationship between Adams and Venable.
The office acknowledged that it had spent an excessive amount of time refuting the Times’ claims by locating Venable’s loved ones, as well as half a dozen former police officers who could purportedly corroborate the close friendship between Adams and the fallen officer.
Family members of the fallen New York Police Department officer have since rallied in support of Mayor Eric Adams after The New York Times accused his aides of manipulating a photograph of the deceased officer. Three relatives of Venable spoke out in defense of Adams.
In an official statement released by the mayor’s office, Venable’s daughter declared, “I may not recall all the individuals who were there for us, but throughout the 36 years since my father’s passing, Eric Adams has been a consistent presence, even when no cameras were around.” Venable’s niece, Meredith Benson, expressed to the New York Post her disbelief that Adams would fabricate such a photo, citing his genuine connection with her family.
On the mayoral campaign trail, critics had taken aim at Adams, drawing comparisons between him and President Biden, accusing him of embellishing stories. Curtis Sliwa, Adams’ Republican opponent in the 2021 mayoral race, remarked that the mayor was increasingly resembling Biden in his alleged behavior.
Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels, stated, “He says he’s the Biden of Brooklyn. Adams is exhibiting Biden-esque traits. He’s sounding more and more like Joe Biden. You better do an intervention.”
Sliwa’s comments highlighted the alleged fabrication of a photo of a police officer with added coffee stains, suggesting that such actions were unnecessary.
“You don’t have to create a photo of a cop and put coffee stains on it,” he said. “Come on.”