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Top NYPD Official Comes for Attorney After Heated On-Air Clash with Mayor Eric Adams, But She’s Not Backing Down: ‘It’s Comedic’

Activist defense attorney Olayemi Olurin ignited a political firestorm last week after she blasted New York City Mayor Eric Adams during a radio interview for what she said was misleading rhetoric about rising crime, while also seeking to emphasize deadly shootings by police officers, which infuriated conservatives who accused her of downplaying the recent killing of a local officer.

Olurin made the controversial remarks to Adams during a March 29 taping of “The Breakfast Club” with host Charlamagne Tha God and DJ Envy, calling the Democratic incumbent a “fearmonger” for his heavy-handed response to a handful of recent violent crimes in the city, seemingly to appease conservatives and cast himself as tough on crime.

The mayor appeared on the show four days after New York City police officer Jonathan Diller was shot to death as he conducted a traffic stop on March 25, becoming the first NYPD officer to be killed in the line of duty in two years, and as several other violent episodes have plagued the city’s subways in recent weeks.

During the sit-down, Olurin defended a progressive new law in New York that allows cashless bail for suspects, asserting that most people released from jail under this ordinance do not get rearrested, a stance that did not sit well with Republicans in the aftermath of Diller’s slaying.

At times, the mayor struggled to get a word in edgewise as the panel drilled down on his controversial decision to add 1,000 officers to patrol trains and platforms, and another 800 officers intended to crack down on fare evasion and screen for concealed weapons, as well as discriminatory practices in policing.

Olurin and the other hosts challenged Adams to reconcile his persistent claim that New York City is one of the safest big cities in the nation while simultaneously decrying rampant subway crime, accusing Adams of intentionally trying to rouse fear in the public.

“Is it safe, or is it not?” Olurin asked Adams pointedly.

As the tense on-air exchange continued, Adams defended his policies as Olurin claimed the mayor had created a false sense of urgency around recent subway crimes, leading to beefed up patrols by law enforcement that she suggested would likely end up targeting people of color. 

Olurin later took to social media to defend her statements to Adams, and to call out policies that she says have hurt the Black community since the mayor took office two years ago.

“Eric Adams not only revived police units that were disbanded in 2020 for their disproportionate abuse against Black and brown New Yorkers, he revived stop and frisk. Since he became mayor, 97% of all stops and searches have been on Black and Latino New Yorkers,” she wrote on the platform X.

During the interview, however, Adams defended his actions, and explained how New Yorkers felt increasingly uneasy on city transit, leading to his recent steps to increase security.

“When we get in the subway system, I ride the subway system and I talk to commuters and I say ‘what are you feeling and how do I help you with that fear?’” Adams said. “They say ‘Eric, if we see more visible uniformed officers in our subway system, we’re gonna feel safer.’”

Olurin and Adams were feet apart during the back-and-forth, with both raising their voices and talking over each other throughout the broadcast.

The interview took a heated turn when Olurin used Diller’s death to describe the murder of police officers as a “rare occurrence” nationwide, while asserting that New York City police officers had killed a number of civilians during the first three months of 2024.

“In the same breath that you want to sensationalize, we want to highlight and point out how an officer was killed the other day, which is a rare occurrence across the United States but let alone in New York, New York police officers have killed at least seven people this year, including a 19-year-old,” Olurin told Adams, referring to a mentally ill man who was fatally shot by NYPD officers on March 27 after he allegedly charged at them with a pair of scissors inside a Queens apartment.

“I’m not going to dismiss the loss of a life of an innocent person that wears a uniform,” Adams responded angrily.

Diller was killed after he and his partner were investigating an illegally parked SUV. The suspect, identified by police as 34-year-old Guy Rivera, emerged from the passenger side of the vehicle and opened fire, mortally wounding Diller despite the officer wearing a bullet-proof vest. 

Diller’s partner returned fire, wounding Rivera and disarming him before he was booked on several charges, including first-degree murder.

The officer’s killing has ignited fierce political debate as former President Donald Trump sought to capitalize on his claim to be the “law-and-order” candidate despite facing federal and state criminal charges. He attended Diller’s wake after being personally invited by the deceased officer’s family, with Trump receiving a warm welcome from mourners and law enforcement officials before he bowed his head before the casket alongside the Diller’s relatives before telling reporters it was time for the country “to get back to law and order.” 

The family reportedly rejected requests by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James and other Democrats to speak at Saturday’s funeral.

One family member recently lashed out at Hochul, saying she had “blood on your hands” due to state laws that have supposedly failed to address crime and public safety concerns.

Conservatives wasted no time taking aim at Olurin on social media for her comments.

NYPD Chief of Patrol John Chell issued perhaps the most vehement response of all, accusing Olurin of minimizing Diller’s death while relying on New York law enforcement for her own protection.

“This ‘Movement Laywer’ epitomizes everything that true NYers are against !” he wrote. “Do you think for a moment that Community Boards and Block Associations agree with what this misinformed person stands for? Anyway, I will get back in a couple of days after the funeral tomorrow for Police Officer Jonathan Diller. The very person you dismissed today!  Rest assured though, if you need help this weekend, we will lay down our lives to protect you! Talk soon.”

Later the same night, Chell made another post to X, showing Olurin had blocked his account on the platform.

“If NYPD is openly harassing a media professional and attorney simply because I outperformed the mayor in an interview, one can only imagine how they treat everyday citizens who critique them,” Olurin responded on March 30. “It’s no wonder we paid $121 million on police misconduct settlements last year.

On March 31, Olurin made another post to X, saying she had “compiled the receipts” to verify her claims against Adams, providing a link to a YouTube video in which she fact-checks the interview.

“It’s comedic seeing NYPD and exclusively right wing outlets and politicians defend Eric Adams and call me a liar, yet none of them can say what I lied about because everything I said is easily verifiable,” she wrote.

Notably, Chell said in early March that transit crime had decreased by 12 percent over the last five weeks, attributing this decline to the additional police deployed and the planned commitment by his department and Mayor Adams.

The interview with Mayor Adams coincided with heightened concerns over a spate of deadly crime in New York, punctuated by several high-profile incidents, including last week’s tragic death of Jason Volz, who was pushed in front of an oncoming subway train in Harlem and weeks earlier, in mid-March, a fatal shooting on an A-train in Brooklyn.

Even though, crime has declined in the city since spiking after the pandemic shut downs, Adams and Hochul are mainly reacting to a 45 percent spike in major crimes on the subway see in January, according to the New York Times.

Still, Olurin questioned the mayor’s decision for increased subway patrols, saying millions of people use public transit every day without incident, and that crime had actually gone down on the subways by 14 percent since this time last year, while arrests for violence were up nearly 50 percent, according to the police department’s own data, she said.

Olurin also criticized Adams for deploying numerous waves of police officers into the subway system and for supporting Hochul’s recent decision to deploy 750 National Guard troops to conduct random bag searches for weapons in the city’s subways.

“You’ve continued to fear monger about crime in the subways,” she added. “You’ve added 2,000 police officers, despite the fact that you’ve acknowledged that the subways are not that dangerous.”

“You’ve said repeatedly that the subways are dangerous, that New York is dangerous,” Olurin said, implying that the mayor was not being forthright. “You complain about crime relentlessly.”

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