State Sen. Eric Adams inserted himself into the national debate over the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates in his own home last month by saying he would’ve gone even further than the arresting officer in the now-infamous incident.
“I would have handcuffed Gates as soon as I entered the household,” said the state senator, a former NYPD officer.
The comment came at the monthly Brooklyn Real Estate Roundtable, days after Obama attempted to seek a national catharsis by holding a beer summit on July 30 with Gates and Crowley — and proves again that almost nothing — or should we say no one — is off-the-cuff with Adams.
Later, Adams, who served 21 years in the NYPD, explained his shackle-first, ask-questions-later position.
“I went to many scenes as a cop and a captain [that] when I arrived I didn’t know what was in front of me,” he said.
“Bad guys do things that are disruptive to throw your attention off. Police officers get injured when they get distracted. The first thing you need is to do is take care of the situation until you can find out what you are dealing with,” Adams added.
Adams recalled searching for a cat burglar one night as a sergeant in Fort Greene when, with his gun drawn, he forced a man to get to the ground in his own backyard, because the resident fit the description of the suspect.
“You can always say you’re sorry later,” he said.
Adams’s comments are in stark contrast to the president he supported. Last month, President Obama provoked an uproar when he initially said that Sgt. James Crowley, who is white, “acted stupidly” when he arrested Gates, who is black.
Crowley charged Gates with disorderly conduct on July 16 after he arrived at the professor’s home to investigate a possible break-in. The two men have differing versions of the incident. Gates said he showed identification proving he lived in the home. Crowley said Gates was uncooperative. The charges against Gates were subsequently dropped.
The high-profile incident involving one of the country’s leading academics and the country’s first black president reawakened an ongoing debate about police methods towards minorities.
Adams seems intent on keeping that waning debate alive.