Former police captain Eric Adams wins

Former police captain Eric Adams claimed victory in the New York mayoral race on Tuesday as voters in the United States chose new city leaders from candidates largely defined by their positions on police and crime .

Adams, who will become the second black mayor of the nation’s largest city, triumphed for the first time this summer in an overcrowded Democratic primary after taking a nuanced stance on law enforcement issues. His message on crime and his experience as a police officer largely shielded him from attacks by his Republican opponent Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels anti-crime patrol.

He said he was beaten by police as a teenager when he was arrested for trespassing. When he later became a cop, he sharply criticized the police department, stood up for black officers, and spoke out against injustices. But he has not accepted calls from some progressives to fund the police by shifting money from law enforcement to social work and other programs to tackle the root causes of crime.

Police and crime problems came to the fore in cities large and small after the death of George Floyd last year led to a national judgment on racial injustice and law enforcement. The debate focused on the questions of when and where police are needed – or sometimes whether they are needed at all. It also took place amid an increase in homicides following the pandemic.

In some large cities, fear or desire for a middle-ground approach has elevated candidates seen as more pro-law enforcement or who have rejected liberal calls to fund police. In Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed, voters were choosing a new mayor. They also rejected a proposal that would have turned law enforcement practices upside down by replacing the police department.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, a Democrat, has defended the police department against calls to dismantle it. On Tuesday he was fighting to keep his job against 16 challengers, the most serious contenders running to his left.

Frey’s outlook may be linked to the poll question that asked voters if they want to replace the police service with a Ministry of Public Security.

Frey opposed the change, but his two main challengers supported him.

Jacob Neiheisel, associate professor of political science at the University of Buffalo, said that while local police departments often become an issue in mayoral races, the issue is broader and looming for votes after 2020.

“I think that’s really at the forefront of how they think about this issue. It therefore occupies more of the countryside environment than in the past, ”he said.

Across New York State Buffalo mayor race met India Walton, a Democratic socialist, in a rematch with incumbent Mayor Byron Brown, the city’s first black mayor and a Democrat who lost the primary to Walton this summer.

He is now running as a written candidate with law enforcement backing and has criticized Walton for his intention to cut the police department’s budget by $ 7.5 million. She says the plan aims to tackle the root causes of crime. Brown says the decision “clearly defines the police.”

In Atlanta, rising crime rates and a wave of high-profile murders have prompted many locals to say they would like to balance police and racial justice. Former mayor Kasim Reed is looking to return to office as the main candidate in a crowded non-partisan race that will likely result in a run-off.

Reed cited the upsurge in crime as the motivation for his campaign for a third term. He told voters the low crime rate during his tenure and the hundreds of police stations he hired made him the best choice.

Longtime Reed critic Felicia Moore is city council chairperson, another prominent candidate who cited rising crime as the reason she is running. Other candidates spoke of adding more police officers and stressed the need to focus on the root causes of crime, such as affordable housing and unemployment.

In Seattle, mayoral candidate Bruce Harrell, a former city council member who called for hiring more police officers to stem an increase in shootings, criticized opponent Lorena González for supporting the police fundraising movement.

González, the chairman of the city council, called for an overhaul of the police service, which is under federal watch over a pattern of excessive force and biased police evidence.

In Boston, the contest between city council members Annissa Essaibi George and Michelle Wu means whoever wins will become the city’s first woman and first person of color elected mayor.

The candidates, both Democrats in a non-partisan race, mainly clashed over issues such as affordable housing, public education and transportation. But differences on police and crime also emerged.

Wu, the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants and patron of Liberal Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, has called for major police reforms. Prior to running for office, Wu joined with other city council members to demand a 10% cut in the police department’s budget.

Essaibi George, who describes himself as Arab-Polish American, opposed the reallocation of the money and called for the hiring of several hundred additional police officers. It was approved by former Boston Police Commissioner William Gross.

Even in Waterloo, Iowa, with a population of around 68,000, police and race have become a flashpoint in the race for mayor.

The city’s first black mayor, Quentin Hart, was re-elected despite being falsely portrayed by critics as an opponent of law enforcement. Hart faced vicious criticism for months from a political action committee called Cedar Valley Backs the Blue, formed by retired Waterloo police officers.

The group lambasted the city’s decision this year to remove the police department’s long-standing griffin logo – which resembles a KKK dragon – and called for the resignation of the city’s first black police chief, a close associate. by Hart.

Hart’s opponent, Margaret Klein, a white city council member, campaigned as a police supporter and won the group’s approval.

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