Mayor Adams slams Progressive Caucus over police scope

After its meeting Friday, the City Council’s Progressive Caucus could see its membership shrink from 35 to as low as 25, NY1 has learned.

The tone from those on their way out is cordial, even as many decline to sign a statement of principles in part calling for reducing the size and scope of the NYPD and the Department of Correction.

The tone outside the caucus is more combative.

“The numerical majority, they have hijacked the term ‘progressive,’” Mayor Eric Adams said Thursday on “CNN This Morning.”

What You Need To Know

  • Debate over which agencies need more funding than others comes with budget negotiations beginning
  • Mayor Eric Adams defines himself as “progressive” in CNN interview and says others hijacked word
  • Progressive Caucus leaders say, unlike Adams, they want guidance counselors and social workers to respond in situations where police currently may

Adams seeks to be a face of the Democrats nationally.

And he’s called on his party to champion working-class and Black and Latino Americans.

He’s also a former police captain and former Republican who tried to broaden the definition of “progressive.”

“I have been progressive all my life,” Adams said. “You look at the issues I’ve fought for, from police reform, housing, education.”

The mayor added of the Democratic Party, “We’re not for defunding the police.”

The Progressive Caucus values statement covers education, housing and the environmental in addition to policing.

Its leaders stressed Thursday that they prioritize social services over a police-centric response.

Councilmembers Lincoln Restler of Brooklyn, Shahana Hanif of Brooklyn and others said in a joint statement, “Unlike the mayor, we want guidance counselors supporting our students with mental health crises instead of cops; we want social workers to get homeless New Yorkers the support they need instead of the NYPD. The mayor is cutting essential services that working New Yorkers rely on the most, and we think that approach threatens the safety of our communities.”

A Democratic councilmember who is not in the caucus, Rafael Salamanca, like Adams, trends centrist and like Adams, drew a line.

In a tweet Thursday, Salamanca challenged caucus leaders to come to his part of the Bronx to talk about defunding the police there.

The standoff over funding some agencies or slashing the funding of others comes at the start of contentious budget negotiations.

On Thursday, the Independent Budget Office projected that the city of this fiscal year will have $2.8 billion more than the surplus cited by the mayor’s office.

It also projected higher-than-budgeted overtime costs for uniformed agencies, including the NYPD.

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