Eric Adams blames City Council for unconstitutionally vague chokehold bill

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Eric Adams ripped the City Council’s anti-chokehold bill that was recently ruled “unconstitutionally vague” — claiming the body erred in not consulting law enforcement on it and produced a law that was “not realistic” for cops to follow.

“The City Council did not sit down with law enforcement, advocates and professionals like the National Black Police Association … and others to craft a smart bill,” Adams, a former NYPD captain, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“I’m opposed to the chokehold. We saw what happened with so many cases, but when you’re saying you cannot touch someone’s chest … it’s just not realistic.”

Adams, who after Tuesday’s Democratic primary is likely to become the next mayor, said the so-called “diaphragm law” could have used more input from “technical experts.”

“That bill did not have the proper steps that we should have taken week to sit down with technical experts, sit down with people who understand how to properly subdue someone, and that is how you go about making sure that you get the justice you deserve with the safety you need,” he said on MSNBC’s morning show. “You can’t abandon neither one of them.”

Later, Adams said the Supreme Court made the right call, because the City Council’s bill signed by the mayor in July was “a big mistake.”

“I believe that was a good decision by the Supreme Court,” said Adams on PIX 11.

“If you were ever put in a position where you had to wrestle with someone that was carrying a knife or dangerous instrument like an icepick, if you start saying that you can’t touch the person’s chest area, that’s a big mistake.”

Still, the retired cop and current Brooklyn borough president said placing people in chokeholds should be barred.

“Of course we should ban the chokehold, and it’s the wrong thing to do, the way Mr. [George] Floyd was murdered, that was a misuse of police practices,” said Adams. “But the bill that came out of the City Council was not realistic, and how it was shaped, and I think that we could do a better job in making sure that we properly apprehend people who are dangerous in the city without harming citizens or police officers.”

Adams went on to tout his law enforcement experience to lend credence to his position.

“I know what it is to try to wrestle a knife out of someone’s hand, or to see a person that I’m trying to apprehend because they haven’t paid or very dangerous instrument or icepick or something like that,” he said.

Adams’ comments come after a Supreme Court judge ruled Tuesday that the city’s diaphragm bill, following an 11-month legal battle over the legislation. A group of 18 police unions challenged the law, claiming the portion prohibiting officers from pressing on a person’s diaphragm would prevent cops from being able to apprehend suspects.

Former NYPD Chief of Department Terrence Monacan last year called the bill “dangerous,” for that reason.

Police unions challenging the bill “have demonstrated that Section 10-181 is unconstitutionally vague as the phrase ‘compresses the diaphragm’ cannot be adequately defined as written,” wrote Supreme Court Justice Laurence Love.

“It is this Court’s sincere hope that the New York City Council will revisit this issue to address this vital matter.”

In response, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday he wants to “quickly” pass a new version of the anti-chokehold bill.

“The court has spoken. We have to address the court’s concerns. The best way to do that is to pass legislation clarifying the law,” he said during his daily press conference. “The underlying concept of law is to protect the lives of people, to create fairness and justice. We have to do that in the context, obviously, of also protecting public safety and making it clear that our officers need clear rules to do their jobs well.

“I think the way to solve all that is to pass an updated version of the law quickly.” 

Additional reporting by Nolan Hicks

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