MetroFocus: November 15, 2021

FRONTPAGE FORECAST 

Tonight we welcome civil rights attorney and Democrats For Education Reform president Shavar Jeffries, BMCC faculty member and former president of the New York City Board Of Elections JC Polanco and The City senior reporter Rachel Holliday Smith, for a look at the news that will be making headlines this week.

TRANSCRIPT

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> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO THE 'METROFOCUS' FRONT PAGE FORECAST.

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

IN THIS WEEK'S LOOK AHEAD AT THE MAJOR HEADLINES, WE'LL ASSESS THE DAMAGE AFTER THREE TORNADOES RIPPED THROUGH LONG ISLAND AND LEFT THOUSANDS IN THE DARK.

IT'S REPORTEDLY THE FIRST TIME A TORNADO HAS TOUCHED DOWN IN NASSAU OR SUFFOLK COUNTY IN NOVEMBER.

AND CONNECTICUT WAS HIT, AS WELL.

WE'LL DIVE INTO THE CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING MAJOR-ELECT ERIC ADAMS AND HIS PLANS FOR A NEW ANTI-GUN POLICE UNIT.

NOW, THIS, AS THE NYPD MAKES A MAJOR ARREST IN LAST WEEK'S CENTRAL PARK JOGGER CASE.

WHAT THE CASE IS TELLING US ABOUT NEW YORK'S LARGER CRIME PROBLEM IS SOMETHING WE'LL GET INTO.

AND FOR MUCH MORE ON THESE STORIES AND THEIR TAKE ON WHAT COULD DRIVE THE NEWS THIS WEEK, I'D LIKE TO WELCOME OUR VIRTUAL ROUNDTABLE OF TRI-STATE EXPERTS.

UP FIRST, WE'D LIKE TO WELCOME SHAVAR JEFFRIES.

A CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY WHO SERVES AS PRESIDENT OF DEMOCRATS FOR EDUCATION REFORM.

SHAVAR, WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

EXCITED TO BE WITH YOU.

WE'RE ALSO JOINED AGAIN BY J.C. POLANCO.

J.C., OF COURSE, IS A POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, A FORMER NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF ELECTIONS PRESIDENT AND A -- HE NOW TEACHES AT CUNY-BMCC.

WELCOME, J.C.

AND -- J.C., I THINK YOU'RE MUTED.

THIS IS A FIRST FOR US.

AND WE WOULD ALSO LIKE TO WELCOME RACHEL HOLLIDAY SMITH.

RACHEL IS A SENIOR REPORTER FOR THE CITY, THE INVESTIGATIVE NEWS WEBSITE.

WELCOME BACK.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

SO, FIRST, I DO WANT TO START WITH THOSE DEVASTATING TORNADOES.

FIRST OFF, SO MANY, I MEAN, THERE HAVE BEEN REPORTS NOW THAT WE'VE GOTTEN OF PEOPLE'S HOMES THAT HAVE BEEN OBLITERATED, COMPLETELY.

DO WE HAVE ANY UNDERSTANDING OF AT LEAST, FROM PAST EXPERIENCE, WHAT KIND OF HELP THAT THOSE RESIDENTS OF LONG ISLAND MIGHT BE ABLE TO EXPECT, AT LEAST FROM THE STATE?

AND RACHEL, I'LL START WITH YOU.

YEAH, WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO GO THROUGH IS THE SAME THING THAT WE SAW DURING HURRICANE IDA, I BELIEVE.

JUST A FEW MONTHS AGO, WHICH IS THAT THE STATE IS GOING TO COORDINATE WITH THE FEDERAL FOLKS TO TRY TO GET SOME FEMA AID FOR THOSE FOLKS, IF THEY, YOU KNOW, QUALIFY.

IT'S KIND OF -- WE REPORTED ON JUST, YOU KNOW, THE DEVASTATION THAT PEOPLE CAN UNDERGO WHEN THESE SORT OF FREAK EXTREME STORMS HAPPEN AND HOW MUCH RED TAPE THERE CAN BE TO ACTUALLY GET SOME AID, YOU KNOW, IF YOU'VE GOT A TREE DOWN ON YOUR HOUSE, IF YOU'VE GOT DAMAGE IN SOME WAY TO GET THAT AID.

I HAVEN'T SEEN, YOU KNOW, THAT THE STATE HAS PUT OUT, YOU KNOW, SPECIFIC NUMBER OF WHAT KIND OF DOLLARS PEOPLE CAN GET, BUT THAT'S TYPICALLY WHAT HAPPENS, YOU KNOW, AFTER YOU ACTUALLY GET YOUR LIGHTS BACK ON AND YOU GET THE TREE REMOVED, YOU START TO, YOU KNOW, SAY, HEY, WHO CAN I BE TO FOR SOME MONEY TO GET SOME THINGS FIXED?

AND IT'S A LONG PROCESS AND IT'S VERY FRUSTRATING, BUT THAT'S WHAT WILL COME NEXT FOR FOLKS ON LONG ISLAND.

J.C., AND AGAIN, UNDERSTANDING THAT THIS ISN'T NECESSARILY YOUR FIELD OF EXPERTISE, HOWEVER, I DO WONDER, GIVEN THAT THIS IS -- WE'RE AT THE DAWN OF THE -- NOT AT THE DAWN, WE'RE INTO THE HOLIDAY SEASON, IT TELL FEELS LIKE IT'S THE BEGINNING FOR ME, BUT WE'RE WELL INTO THE HOLIDAY SEASON, WE ARE GOING INTO WINTER, ET CETERA.

HOW URGENT IS IT FOR A RESPONSE FROM THE GOVERNMENT?

BECAUSE AS RACHEL SAID, THIS CAN BE A LONG PROCESS AND I'M SORRY, YOU CAN OF CANNOT HAVE SHELTER DURING THIS TIME.

I THINK RACHEL IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.

BUT ONE IMPORTANT ASPECT OF THIS, I WAS WATCHING SEVERAL OF THE NEWS STORIES ABOUT WHAT THE FAMILIES EXPERIENCED, SOME FAMILIES LOST ROOFS, SOME FAMILIES HAD A TOUGH TIME GETTING BACK HOME.

I FEEL TERRIBLE FOR THEM.

BUT UNDERSTANDING WE'RE GOING TO HAVE STORMS AND YOU'RE ON AN ISLAND, WE HAVE TO FIGURE OUT A BETTER WAY TO EVACUATE OUR FAMILIES FROM SOME OF THESE AREAS IN THE EVENT THAT THIS HAPPENS AGAIN.

THIS HAPPENED VERY SUDDENLY, IF YOU REMEMBER, SOME WERE EVEN QUESTIONING, IS THIS A TORNADO?

SO, I REALLY THINK THAT WE NEED TO WORK ON A RAPID RESPONSE TO EVACUATE SCHOOLS AND NEIGHBORHOODS AND THEN FOCUS ON WHAT RACHEL WAS TALKING ABOUT, WHICH IS ELIMINATING THAT RED TAPE.

THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN MORE OFTEN, WE'RE SEEING IT, COULD BE CLIMATE CHANGE, COULD BE JUST IT HAPPENS TO BE THAT WE'RE GOING TO SEE THIS MORE AND MORE OFTEN.

NOT ONLY IN STATEN ISLAND IN LONG ISLAND, IN PARTS OF CONNECTICUT AND HERE IN NEW YORK CITY.

WE'VE SEEN WHAT HAPPENS WITH THE STORMS THAT HAVE HIT WHEN WE WERE NOT READY FOR THEM.

WE NEED TO BE PREPARED, NOT ONLY FOR WHAT RACHEL JUST TALKED ABOUT, ELIMINATING THE RED TAPE, BUT WHAT CAN OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS AND THE AGENCIES DO NOW TO ASSURE THAT WE EVACUATE QUICKLY AND EFFICIENTLY SO THAT NO ONE IS LOST BECAUSE OF THESE NATURAL DISASTERS?

SHAVAR, IS THERE ANY CONCERN -- WE'VE SEEN BEFORE, WHEN THERE'S THESE KIND OF NATURAL DISASTERS AND, OF COURSE, RESIDENTS ARE SORT OF LEFT TO THEIR OWN DEVICES TO NAVIGATE, AS RACHEL WAS DESCRIBING, A LOT OF THE RED TAPE, WE QUICKLY SEE A DISPARITY BETWEEN THE HAVE AND THE HAVE NOTS, PEOPLE WHO CAN AFFORD TO FLOAT THEMSELVES DURING THAT PERIOD AND PEOPLE WHO ABSOLUTELY NEED HELP.

TORNADOES ARE NONDISCRIMINATE, SO, I'M WONDERING WHAT YOUR CONCERNS ARE IN NASSAU AND SUFFOLK COUNTIES?

THIS IS AN AREA WHERE WE SEE SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS IN TERMS OF COMMUNITIES OF COLOR, AND THIS IS AN AREA WHERE WE NEED THE GOVERNMENT TO DO ITS JOB AND DO IT WELL.

OFTENTIMES, THE CONVERSATION AROUND GOVERNMENT AND THESE BIG ISSUES WHICH ARE ABSOLUTELY VERY IMPORTANT, BUT THERE'S JUST ANOTHER PIECE OF DELIVERING SERVICES TO INDIVIDUALS AND HUMAN BECOMES IN NEED AND GETTING THAT SUPPORT TO PEOPLE QUICKLY AND IN A WAY THAT IS TURNKEY FOR THEM SO THEY CAN PROVIDE THE SUPPORT THAT THEIR FAMILIES NEED DURING THIS TIME AND SO THERE'S NO QUESTION THAT LOW INCOME COMMUNITIES ARE BARING THE BRUNT OF THIS.

THEY MAY NOT HAVE THE INSURANCE OR THE SAVINGS OR THE OTHER RESOURCES TO NAVIGATE THIS WITHOUT SUPPORT FROM THE GOVERNMENT.

WE SEE SIMILAR DYNAMICS WITH COMMUNITIES OF COLOR.

SO, THIS IS JUST AN AREA WHERE WE NEED TO HOLD OUR LOCAL, COUNTY, STATE AND FEDERAL OFFICIALS ACCOUNTABLE TO EXECUTE PUBLIC SERVICES IN A WAY THAT CAN MEET PEOPLE DURING THIS TIME OF NEED.

WELL, THIS WILL BE A STORY LINE THAT WE'LL BE FOLLOWING AS PEOPLE REACH OUT AND HOPEFULLY GET AND EFFICIENT HELP.

BUT I WOULD LIKE TO PIVOT TO OUR MAYOR-ELECT FOR NEW YORK CITY.

NOW, I GUESS IT'S NATURAL THAT ANY NEW YORK CITY MAJOR WOULD AUTOMATICALLY HAVE CONTROVERSY AND IT SEEMS AS IF MAYOR-ELECT ADAMS ALREADY HAS CREATED SOMETHING BETWEEN ACTIVIST LEADERS WITH THE BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT AND, OF COURSE, CAN POLICE DEPARTMENT WITH A PROPOSAL OF, I BELIEVE, A GUN-FREE, OR A GUNLESS, I GUESS, PATROL UNIT.

SO, RACHEL, CAN YOU LAY OUT WHAT YOU SEE THIS SORT OF TENSION THAT'S HAPPENING?

YEAH, SURE.

THIS ALL REALLY CAME UP SO SUDDENLY LAST WEEK.

IT STARTED WITH A WEDNESDAY MEETING AT BROOKLYN BOROUGH HALL.

HE'S STILL THE BROOKLYN BOROUGH PRESIDENT, WITH A LOCAL CHAPTER OF BLACK LIVES MATTER AND HE DID THIS, YOU KNOW, AS A SHOW THAT HE, YOU KNOW, IS GOING TO SIT DOWN WITH THESE FOLKS AND HEAR THEM OUT AND DEVELOP SOME P POLICIES AND THINKING AROUND HIS CONVERSATIONS WITH THEM, BUT IT KIND OF QUICKLY DEVOLVED, SOME COMMENTS MADE BY HAWK NEWSOME, WHO IS A LONGTIME ACTIVIST WITH BLM IN NEW YORK CITY, HE SAID THAT HE THINKS SOME OF ADAMS' POLICIES INCLUDING BRINGING BACK THE PLAIN CLOTHES UNIT, WOULD LEAD TO RIOTS AND BLOODSHED IN THE CITY BECAUSE OF PEOPLE'S FRUSTRATIONS WITH THOSE ACTIONS.

AND THEN IT JUST, YOU KNOW, WENT EXPONENTIAL FROM THERE.

IT'S BEEN ALL OVER THE NATIONAL NEWS ALL WEEKEND AND IT'S REALLY A CONVERSATION AROUND, I THINK, HAS BEEN FRAMED AS A CONVERSATION AROUND, YOU KNOW, THIS MORE MODERATE FORMER POLICE OFFICER ERIC ADAMS AND PEOPLE ARE FRAMING IT AS THIS EXTREMIST SORT OF GROUP IN NEW YORK CITY.

I'LL SAY -- I DID NOT FIND MR.

NEWSOME'S COMMENTS TO BE THAT SURPRISING.

IF I HAD HEARD THAT, I WOULD HAVE THOUGHT, GIVEN WHAT WE'VE SEEN WITH THE PROTESTS AFTER, YOU KNOW, IN THE SUMMER OF 2020, THAT, YOU KNOW, THAT WE WOULD SEE PROTESTS, WE WOULD SEE REACTION IN THAT WAY.

SO, YOU KNOW, I THOUGHT IT WAS A SORT OF A NATURAL PROGRESSION OF SOME OF THE CONVERSATIONS WE'VE SEEN AROUND FOLKS WHO ARE REALLY PUSHING FOR POLICE REFORM IN A VERY DIRECT WAY AND A MAYOR WHO, I THINK, SEES HIMSELF AS HAVING A MANDATE FROM THE MORE MOD RAT AND I'LL SAY MODERATE IN QUOTES, MODERATE IN QUOTES PARTS OF THE CITY THAT DON'T WANT TO, YOU KNOW, GO IN THAT MORE EXTREME, ALSO IN QUOTES, DIRECTION.

J.C., IS THERE A WAY TO, I GUESS, MAYBE NOT PLEASE BOTH GROUPS, BUT AT LEAST A MIDDLE, SOME PLACE WHERE PEOPLE CAN MEET IN THE MIDDLE OR IS IT GOING TO BE ONE OF TWO EXTREMES WHEN IT COMES TO POLICING IN NEW YORK?

WELL, I THINK NEW YORK CITY IS A CENTRIST CITY, I THINK THEY ELECTED A CENTRIST MAYOR WHO SPENT 20 YEARS AS A POLICE OFFICER PROTECTING US DURING THE WORST CRISIS WHEN I WAS GROWING UP IN THE CITY AND I THINK HE KNOWS LAW ENFORCEMENT MORE THAN THE 13 PEOPLE THAT SHOWED UP TO THE MEETING.

I THINK IT WAS INCREDIBLE IRRESPONSIBLE TO USE THAT LANGUAGE WITH THE SECOND BLACK MAYOR THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE IN NEW YORK CITY AND TELL HIM IF HE INSTITUTES A TEAM OF PEOPLE THAT WILL KEEP US SAFE, WILL KEEP MY KIDS SAFE, THERE WILL BE BL BLOODSHED AND RIOTS, THAT'S THE KIND OF LANGUAGE THAT IS UNNECESSARY AND CREATES A LOTD OF ILL WILL.

THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT THE PLAIN CLOTHES UNIT THAT MAYOR-ELECT ADAMS IS DISCUSSING KEEPS KIDS SAFE.

WE UNDERSTAND THAT THERE'S AN UPTICK IN CRIME IN CERTAIN PARTS OF OUR CITY WHERE THE KIDS LOOK LIKE ME AND WHEN WE USE THESE AT LARGE NUMBERS OF HOW THE CITY'S REDUCING CRIME, IT'S ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT.

WHEN YOU GO TO NEIGHBORHOODS WHERE EXCLUSIVELY MINORITY IN PARTS OF THE BRONX, WE CONSTANTLY, EVERY DAY, THERE'S A SHOOTING, EVERY DAY THERE'S SOMEONE DEAD.

EVERY SINGLE DAY -- AND IT'S ALWAYS A YOUNG PERSON INVOLVED AND ERIC ADAMS REALIZES THIS.

HE KNOWS THAT HAVING THE PRESENCE OF THE PLAIN CLOTHES OFFICER MONITORING THIS, PROTECTING PEOPLE'S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

AND HAVING THIS DISCUSSION WITH THE SECOND BLACK MAYOR WHO HAS ABOUT ASSUMED OFFICE YET IS DISRESPECTFUL.

SHAVAR, YOUR THOUGHTS ON HOW WE MOVE FORWARD?

YEAH, AND I'M A PERSON WHO HAS LITIGATED CASES INVOLVING POLICE MISCONDUCT AND RACIAL PROFILING AND I JUST THINK THIS IS ANOTHER EXAMPLE, BUILDING ON WHAT J.C. TALKED ABOUT, ABOUT THE FALSE DICHOTOMIES WE SEE IN OUR POLITICAL CONVERSATION.

WHAT MAYOR ADAMS IS TALKING ABOUT, DIFFERENTIATING BETWEEN NONVIOLENT CRIME AND VIOLENT CRIME.

THE ISSUE WE'VE HAD WITH OVERPOLICING IS THE OVERPOLICING OF BLACK AND BROWN BODIES FOR NONVIOLENT OFFENSES.

THAT'S WHAT FUELED THE WAR ON CRIME, THAT FUELED MASS INCARCERATION, REAMS OF BLACK AND BROWN PEOPLE IN PRISON FOR NONVIOLENT DRUG-RELATED CRIME.

HOWEVER, THE UNIT THAT MAYOR-ELECT ADAMS IS TALKING ABOUT IS FOCUSED ON VIOLENCE, ON GANG VIOLENCE, WHICH IS A SIGNIFICANT ISSUE IN TOO MANY OF OUR COMMUNITIES AND WE HAVE TO BE CANDID ABOUT THAT.

SO, INSTEAD OF HAVING THE BALANCE DIFFERENTIATED CONVERSATION, WE GET THE PEOPLE RUSHING TO THE EXTREMES, HAVING THESE POLARIZED SORT OF CONVERSATIONS THAT MAY INFLAME PEOPLE AND LOSE SIGHT OF THE FACT THERE'S THIS BROAD MIDDLE.

THE MAYOR-ELECT WAS ELECTED WITH THAT BROAD MIDDLE AND THAT'S WHAT NEW YORK IS GOING TO SEE.

BOTH MAKE SURE THAT POLICE OPERATE WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF CIVIL RIGHTS AND ETHICS AND MAKE SURE WE CAN KEEP OUR COMMUNITIES SAFE.

OF COURSE.

IS THERE ANY CONCERN, THOUGH, THAT THERE IS -- LISTEN, THE ENTIRE CITY, THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY, THE COUNTRY, HAS BEEN THROUGH A VERY, VERY DIFFICULT TIME WITH THIS PANDEMIC.

SO, A LOT OF PEOPLE'S NERVES ARE ALREADY ON THE EDGE.

IS THERE ANY CONCERN AT LEAST ON YOUR PART THAT WHEN THESE PLAIN CLOTHES OFFICERS, SHOULD THEY HIT THE STREETS AGAIN, THAT THERE IS AT LEAST PROTESTS OR A RESPONSE SIMILAR TO WHAT WE SAW, MAYBE, IN THE SUMMER OF 2020?

SHAVAR?

WELL, I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE CRITICAL FOR THE MAYOR-ELECT TO HOLD THIS UNIT ACCOUNTABLE TO DO THE THINGS THAT THEY SHOULD DO APPROPRIATELY, WHICH IS TO USE INTELLIGENCE TO TARGET CRIMINAL GANG ENTERPRISES THAT ARE DRIVING CRIME IN SOME OF OUR COMMUNITIES.

THE BROKEN WINDOW APPROACH, WHERE THERE'S AN INDISCRIMINATE TARGETING OF CIVILIANS WHICH LED TO THIS OVERWHELMING FALSE POSITIVE YIELD, WHERE THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF PEOPLE ARE BEING STOPPED AND FRISKED AND THEY WERE JUST GOING ABOUT THEIR BUSINESS.

AS I UNDERSTAND THIT, THIS UNITS TA TA TARGETED.

SO, NOT AN INDISCRIMINATE DRAGNET, BUT USING INTELLIGENCE TO TARGET CRIMINAL ENTERPRISES.

IF THE MAYOR DOES THAT, THAT SHOULD HOPEFULLY CREATE A PATHWAY WHERE WE CAN GET BEYOND THE FALSE DICHOTOMIES.

YOU KNOW WHAT I'M CONCERNED ABOUT?

AND THIS IS SOMETHING IMPORTANT FOR YOUR VIEWERS TO THINK ABOUT IT.

SHAVAR DISCUSSES INTELLIGENCE AND GATHERING INTELLIGENCE, BUT THAT IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT WITH SOME OF THE MORE ELECTED OFFICIALS THAT HAVE GOTTEN ELECTED IN ALBANY.

FOR EXAMPLE, NOW, AND AS A CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY, I'M SURE YOU CAN BACK ME UP ON THIS, SHAVAR.

CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS ARE GETTING MUCH MORE INFORMATION ON ANY POTENTIAL WITNESSES TO SOME OF THESE CRIMINAL CASES THAT ARE COMING BEFORE THE COURTS, MAKING IT EVEN OF GREATER FACTOR TO CHILL ANYONE FROM COMING FORWARD AND SPEAKING, BECAUSE THE FEAR OF BEING CALLED A SNITCH OR THE FEAR THAT YOU MAY ACTUALLY HAVE IN THE STREETS AND ALSO, WE HAVE TO REALLY TAKE A LOOK AT THE FACT THAT THERE HAS BEEN INCREDIBLE HISTORICAL DISCRIMINATION AGAINST BLACK AND BROWN FOLKS IN BAIL AND INCARCERATION.

A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT, THAT'S TOO BAD.

BUT THE OVERCOMPENSATION WE HAVE SEEN WITH THE NO BAIL AND RAISE THE AGE MAKES IT EVEN MORE DIFFICULT FOR MAYOR ADAMS TO DO HIS JOB NEXT YEAR.

CONSIDER THE 17-YEAR-OLD GANG BANGER IN OUR COMMUNITY.

YOU KNOW, BECAUSE OF THE RAISE TO AGE, HE'S GOING TO GET AWAY WITH THINGS THAT HE SHOULDN'T HAVE GOTTEN AWAY WITH, BY COMMITTING ADULT CRIMES AND NOT DOING ADULT TIME.

WE ARE GETTING PEOPLE THAT ARE ARRESTED WITH GUNS IN FRONT OF SCHOOLS AND NOT GIVING JUDGES THE DISCRETION.

AND THESE KIDS GO RIGHT BACK IN OUR COMMUNITY AND HARM THE SAME PEOPLE THAT WE'RE SUPPOSED TO BE PROTECTING.

SO, WE HAVE -- MAYOR ADAMS HAS A TOUGH JOB, BECAUSE HE HAS TO DO EXACTLY WHAT SHAVAR MENTIONED, BUT HE HAS TO BALANCE THAT AGAINST THE STATE LAWS THAT HAVE BEEN PASSED IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS THAT MAKE IT VERY TOUGH FOR MAYOR ADAMS TO KEEP THE CITY SAFE, I THINK.

WELL, RACHEL, I MEAN, IF IT'S AT ALL POSSIBLE TO SORT OF, I GUESS, LOOK INTO THE FUTURE, DO WE HAVE ANY UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT KIND OF CHANGES THAT ARE -- MIGHT BE COMING TO THE NYPD UNDER ADAMS?

AND DO WE HAVE ANY INDICATION AS TO WHO HE MIGHT BE LOOKING TO TO BE HIS POLICE COMMISSIONER?

YEAH, IT'S PRETTY EARLY FOR THAT, BUT I WILL, YOU KNOW, HE HAS A TRANSITION TEAM NOW IN PLACE THAT IS GOING TO BE LOOKING AT THAT AND THEY ARE DOING THAT WORK AS WE SPEAK.

HE JUST ANNOUNCED, YOU KNOW, THE TOP PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO HELP HIM WITH THAT TRANSITION.

AS FOR THE SPECIFIC THINGS THAT HE WILL CHANGE IN THE NYPD, I DON'T KNOW, BUT I THINK THIS CONVERSATION AROUND THIS BLM CONTROVERSY IS, FOR ERIC ADAMS, THAT'S SORT OF EXACTLY WHERE HE WANTS TO BE.

MAYBE HE DOESN'T WANT SOME OF THE SALACIOUS HEADLINES, BUT HE GOT OUT THERE ON NATIONAL MEDIA RIGHT AWAY, TO RESPOND TO THIS.

I THINK HE WANTS TO BE SEEN AS A MORE NUANCED, MIDDLE OF THE ROAD CENTRIST SORT OF PERSON COMING INTO THIS OFFICE AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT HE'S GETTING WITH THIS CONVERSATION.

WITH KNOWS IF HE PLANNED IT THAT WAY WHEN HE HAD THIS CONVERSATION LAST WEDNESDAY AT BOROUGH HALL WITH THE ACTIVISTS, BUT SINCE THIS HAS HAPPENED, THIS HAS BEEN ONLY A GOOD THING FOR HIM BASED ON HIS GOALS, I THINK, OF POSITIONING HIMSELF, NOT ONLY AS A MORE MODERATE MAYOR ON POLICING ISSUES, BUT ALSO AS THE NEW FACE OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY NATIONALLY, WHICH, YOU KNOW, IS VERY EARLY TO SAY THAT, BUT THAT'S CERTAINLY WHAT HE WANTS TO BE.

WELL, I'D LIKE TO TURN TO SOMETHING THAT PERHAPS WE MIGHT KNOW A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT AS THIS CASE UNFOLDS, AND THAT IS A NEW -- I HATE TO CALL IT, BUT A CENTRAL PARK JOGGER CASE.

RACHEL, I'M WONDERING IF YOU COULD TELL US WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR ABOUT THE SUSPECT ACCUSED OF ATTACKING A WOMAN RUNNING IN THE PARK?

YEAH, APPARENTLY HE WAS ALREADY KNOWN FOR THIS TYPE OF BEHAVIOR IN FLORIDA AND HE WAS WANTED IN FLORIDA FOR -- I'M SORRY, I DON'T KNOW THE EXACT CHARGES, BUT FOR SEXUAL-RELATED ASSAULTS THERE AND HE WAS PUT AWAY WITHOUT BAIL BECAUSE OF THAT AND, YOU KNOW, THIS WAS A MAN WHO APPEARS TO HAVE A PATTERN AND HE ALSO ALLEGEDLY ATTACKED A WOMAN IN CENTRAL PARK.

AND OF COURSE ANY NEW YORKER SEES THIS AND JUST THINKS OF THE '90s CASE OF THE CENTRAL PARK JOGGER THEN AND I THINK IT JUST REALLY CH THE IS -- IT JUST HITS PEOPLE RIGHT IN THE HEART, I THINK, WITH JUST THE FEAR OF CRIME COMING BACK.

I THINK FOR PEOPLE WHO FEEL AS THOUGH NEW YORK IS ON A PRECIPICE AND THAT WE'RE, YOU KNOW, GOING BACK TO THE BAD OLD DAYS, IT SPEAKS TO THAT.

AND FOR SOME IT SPEAKS TO JUST, YOU KNOW, TABLOID, YOU KNOW, PICKING ONE CASE OUT OF MANY TO, YOU KNOW, SORT OF STIR UP FEARS.

YOU KNOW, I -- I DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT THIS SPECIFICS OF THE CASE BUT YOU KNOW, THIS WAS A WOMAN WHO WAS ATTACKED IN CENTRAL PARK.

I THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, THAT NARRATIVE IS VERY STRONG IN NEW YORKERS' MINDS.

WELL, J.C. AND SHAVAR, I KNOW YOU BOTH ARE ATTORNEYS AND J.C., I WOULD JUST LOVE TO GET YOUR TAKE ON THE FACT THAT THIS IS HAPPENING, AGAIN, THIS HAS GOT TO BE -- IT ALMOST FEELS RETRAUMATIC, CONSIDERING THAT THIS CITY IS STILL UNPACKING WHAT HAPPENED IN THE '90s WITH THAT LAST CASE.

I FEEL TERRIBLE FOR THE VICTIM.

TO JUST -- THAT HORROR, JUST SO SCARY.

AND I PRAY THAT SHE'S OKAY.

YOU KNOW, THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS, THIS IS A REPEAT OFFENDER.

THIS IS SOMEONE WHO WAS ARRESTED ON THE SAME ISSUE IN FLORIDA AND PENNSYLVANIA.

WHAT WAS HE DOING OUT?

AND THEN HE'S IN NEW YORK.

WHY WEREN'T WE NOTIFIED THAT THIS PERSON LEFT THE PRISONS?

THIS PERSON IS OBVIOUSLY DANGEROUS.

AND HE WAS HOMELESS.

SO, WE HAVE A BIG PROBLEM IN OUR CITY IN WHICH WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH HOMELESSNESS ON ONE END, WE HAVE A BROKEN PAROLE SYSTEM ON THE OTHER, WE HAVE TO KEEP PEOPLE SAFE AND WE HAVE TO BALANCE ALL THAT OUT.

THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS, THIS MAN SHOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN OUT OF PRISON.

HE'S EVEN POSTED ON INSTAGRAM PICTURES OF HIMSELF WITH HIS ANKLE BRACELET AND TAKING IT OFF.

WE REALLY HAVE TO EXAMINE HOW WE'RE VIEWING THESE CRIMINALS AND HOW SOFT WE'RE GOING TO BE WITH SOME OF THESE SEXUAL PREDATORS.

THIS MAN SHOULD HAVE BEEN BEHIND BARS.

HE WAS COMMITTING THESE CRIMES IN TWO STATES.

NO REASON WHY HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN OUT AND NO REASON WHY THIS SHOULD HAVE EVER HAPPENED TO THE VICTIM.

SO, THEN, SHAVAR, IS THIS, IN YOUR OPINION, IS THIS AN INDICATION OF CRIME IN NEW YORK CITY OR IS THIS MORE AN INDICATION OF WHAT'S GOING ON RIGHT NOW WITH OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, AS J.C. JUST POINTED OUT THAT THIS PERSON WAS KNOWN TO HAVE THIS BEHAVIORAL PROBLEM?

I THINK IT'S A LITTLE BIT OF BOTH.

WE DO KNOW THAT RAPES ARE UP 25% YEAR TO DATE IN NEW YORK CITY.

I DO THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP TRACK OF NATIONAL TRENDS, I MEAN, WE HAVE A NATIONAL, FRANKLY, AN INTERNATIONAL PROBLEM WITH VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND ASSAULTS AGAINST WOMEN.

AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE.

AND SO, MY VIEW -- THERE'S OBVIOUSLY A MENTAL HEALTH COMPONENT HERE, BUT THERE'S ALSO JUST A COMPONENT AROUND THE CULTURE OF MISOGYNY, WHERE MALE DOMINION OF WOMEN'S BOLDS SEEMS TO BE REINFORCED.

SO, BOTH IN TERMS OF VERY LOCAL SPECIFIC ISSUES WE SEE WITH UPTICKS IN CRIME, PARTICULARLY RAPES IN NEW YORK CITY, BUT I THINK THIS IS PART AND PARCEL OF A LARGER CULTURAL CHALLENGE WE HAVE IN WHICH DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IS SOMETHING THAT IS VERY GHON.

MOST WOMEN, THE NUMBER ONE KILLER OF MOST WOMEN IN THIS COUNTRY IS A MAN THEY ALREADY KNOW.

SHE DIDN'T KNOW THIS PERSON, BUT THIS IS A BROADER PROBLEM THAT WE HAVE, IN TERMS OF LARGELY MEN VISITING VIOLENCE AND ASSAULTS ON WOMEN AND WE HAVE TO HAVE A WAR ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN THIS COUNTRY.

OKAY, WELL, WE'VE TALKED SO MUCH ABOUT ONE GROUP OF ESSENTIAL WORKERS AND OF COURSE, THAT IS THE NYPD.

I ALSO DO NOT WANT TO DISMISS WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THE FDNY AND THE SANITATION DEPARTMENT.

THERE STILL SEEMS TO BE TENSION OVER WHO HAS GOTTEN VACCINATED, WHO WILL BE VACCINATED, WHO IS REFUSING TO GET VACCINATED.

AND THAT THERE ARE -- THERE'S AN INVESTIGATION THAT'S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW INTO ALLEGATIONS THAT MEMBERS OF THE FDNY AND THE SANITATION DEPARTMENT COMMITTED POSSIBLE FRAUD OR VACCINE FRAUD IN TERMS OF SUBMITTING INCORRECT OR FALSIFIED DOCUMENTS FOR THE CITY'S VACCINE MANDATE.

RACHEL, DO WE KNOW WHERE THE CITY'S INVESTIGATION STANDS WITH THIS?

NO, IT'S ONGOING.

ALL I REALLY CAN SAY IS THAT, YOU KNOW, THEY'RE BEGINNING AND THEY ARE LOOKING AT, I BELIEVE, 50 -- AT LEAST 50 PEOPLE WHO ARE INVOLVED HERE, POSSIBLY.

AND NOT ONLY JUST FALSIFYING VACCINE CARDS BUT STEALING, ALLEGEDLY, STEALING THOSE VACCINE CARDS FROM A VACCINATION SITE, YOU KNOW, THAT'S CITY ADJACENT, SO, NOT ONLY JUST TRYING TO MAKE UP THEIR OWN CARD, BUT ACTUALLY TAKING THOSE CARDS THAT WE SEE AND IT'S -- I GUESS IT'S NOT ENTIRELY SURPRISING, JUST BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, WE'VE SEEN THAT THERE IS A SMALL GROUP OF SORT OF WILL NOT GET VACCINATED FOLK ACROSS MOST AGENCI AGENCIES.

THE CITY IS QUICK TO SAY THAT THEIR VACCINE -- VACCINATION RATE IS RISING, BUT THERE'S THAT SMALL GROUP THAT JUST WON'T DO IT.

AND I THINK THAT THIS IS -- I'LL SAY THAT WITH THE LOW-HANGING FRUIT, THEY HAVE BEEN PICKED.

THE PEOPLE WHO CAN BE CONVINCED HAVE GOTTEN VACCINATED IF THEY DON'T WANT TO.

NOW WE'RE DEALING WITH THE FOLKS IN THOSE AGENCIES WHO JUST WILL DO ANYTHING THEY CAN TO NOT GET VACCINATED.

IT'S GOING TO BE TOUGH FOR THE CITY TO RAISE THOSE NUMBERS TO 100.

WELL, I'D LIKE TO ASK OUR ATTORNEYS, I MEAN, HOW DO YOU SEE THE CITY HANDLING VACCINE FRAUD, WHICH FEELS A VERY 2021 PROBLEM THAT WE NOW HAVE?

YOU KNOW, WE HAVE -- IN OUR CITY, METHODS BY WHICH WE COMBAT FRAUD.

WE HAVE A DEPARTMENT OF INVESTIGATION, WE HAVE INVESTIGATION BUREAUS IN EVERY ONE OF OUR AGENCIES TO MONITOR THESE TYPES OF THINGS.

I KNOW THIS -- I KNOW THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF FDNY, NYPD WORKERS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS.

IT'S A VERY SMALL NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT ARE BREAKING THE LAW.

THEY WILL BE FOUND AND THEY WILL BE FINED, THEY MAY LOSE THEIR JOBS AND I HOPE THEY DON'T DO THIS.

BUT THE CITY WILL BE ABLE TO HANDLE THIS WITHIN THE SCOPE OF HOW THEY -- OF HOW THEY FUNCTION IN COMBATTING FRAUD.

THIS IS NO DIFFERENT THAN ANY OTHER AGENCY WHEN IT IS COMMITTING FRAUD AGAINST PEOPLE.

SHAVAR, ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ADD ON THIS?

I THINK J.C. REALLY HIT IT.

THANKFULLY, THE GREAT MAJORITY OF OUR CIVIL SERVANTS ARE DOING JUST WHAT THEY DO EVERY DAY.

THEY PUT THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE FOR OUR COMMUNITIES AND DO A GOOD JOB.

WE HAVE A FEW WHO HAVE COMMITTED FRAUD AND AS J.C. SAID, I'M SURE THEY'LL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.

THE VACCINE MANDATES WORK AND WE NEED THEM TO KEEP OUR COMMUNITIES SAFE, IN PARTICULAR OUR LOW INCOME COMMUNITIES AND EXCITED TO SEE THESE PEOPLE HELD ACCOUNTABLE SO WE CAN SEND A SIGNAL THAT THOSE THAT COMMIT FRAUD WILL BE DEALT WITH APPROPRIATELY.

ALL RIGHT, WELL, WE'VE GOT, LIKE, LITERALLY 45 SECONDS LEFT BUT I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR AT LEAST A HEADLINE THAT YOU ARE GOING TO BE WATCHING AS WE GO INTO THIS WEEK AND SO SHAVAR, I'LL START WITH YOU.

I'M GOING TO BE WATCHING HOW THE BIDEN INFRASTRUCTURE ROLLOUT HAPPENS.

I THINK THAT'S CRITICAL FOR MOVING INTO 2020 AND THE MIDTERMS, OBVIOUSLY THE DEMOCRATS HAD A VERY TOUGH ELECTORAL SEASON A FEW WEEKS AGO.

THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF DRAMA BETWEEN THE PROGRESSIVES AND MODERATES AND CAPITOL HILL.

TO GET THAT BILL PASSED, HOPEFULLY SHOVELS WILL BE IN THE GROUND EARLY INTO '22.

I THINK THIS ROLLOUT IS GOING TO BE REALLY IMPORTANT TO SET THE STAGE FOR THE POLITICAL CONVERSATION NEXT YEAR.

OF COURSE, 2022 IS ON EVERYONE'S MINDS.

J.C.?

I THINK MAYOR-ELECT ADAMS IS GOING TO NAME HIS CANDIDATES FOR POLICE COMMISSIONER SOMETIME THIS WEEK.

I'M LOOKING AT MY CRYSTAL BALL, BUT I THINK WE'RE GOING TO EITHER SEE A POLICE COMMISSIONER NAMED OR FINAL CANDIDATE AND WE'RE GOING TO HEAR TALK ABOUT WHO IS GOING TO BE HIS SCHOOLS CHANCELLOR, THOUGH WE THINK WE HAVE AN IDEA WHO IT IS GOING TO BE.

RACHEL, DO YOU AGREE?

WE'LL SEE.

I'M GOING TO BE INTERESTED IN THE TRANSITION, I DON'T KNOW, THIS WEEK, WE'LL SEE.

ALL RIGHT, WELL, WITH THAT, THEN, I'D LIKE TO THANK ALL THREE OF MY ROUNDTABLE GUESTS.

SHAVAR JEFFRIES, CIVIL RIGHTS ATTORNEY WHO ALSO SERVES AS PRESIDENT OF DEMOCRATS FOR EDUCATION REFORM, J.C. POLANCO, THE FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE NEW YORK CITY BOARD OF ELECTIONS AND RACHEL HOLLY HOLLIDAY SMITH, RE FOR THE CITY NEW YORK.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING ME ON THE 'METROFOCUS' MONDAY ROUNDTABLE.

THANK YOU, JENNA.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION.

AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

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