Almost 24 years after he was brutally assaulted by police in a Brooklyn stationhouse, Abner Louima returned to New York on Tuesday to endorse Eric Adams, a former NYPD Captain, for mayor.
"My message today is clear, New York, as the greatest city in the world, needs a good leader with a lot of vision," Louima said at a press conference outside City Hall. "Eric Adams doesn't need any introduction — his vision and what he has already done, I believe he will be the greatest mayor for this great city."
Louima, a Haitian immigrant, was attacked, brutally beaten and sexually assaulted by NYPD officers after he was arrested outside a Brooklyn nightclub on the night of Aug. 9, 1997.
Louima was taken to a hospital the next day and officers attempted to cover up their crime. Eventually, the four officers responsible for the attack were charged and convicted in federal court.
Louima's brutal attack set off a series of protests and marches throughout the city, which Adams said he helped organize. That move, according to Adams, earned him criticism and even put him under surveillance by his peers at the NYPD.
"The first order of business was to organize the marches and the protests to seek justice," Adams said. "We made sure that we were in the courtroom every day and we moved from within to send a right message that we need to hold every officer accountable that was aware of what happened and didn't come forward."
Adams said he, too, was assaulted by police when he was a teenager.
"My activism did not start when I became a State Senator or when I became a Borough President, it started on the floor of the 103rd Precinct while I was kicked repeatedly in my groin urinating blood for a week, unsure if I would ever have children," Adams said.
Adams has sought to connect his advocacy for reform while serving as a police officer to his current push to reform the department while still placing a focus on public safety, the need for more officers and the reinvention of a now defunct controversial plain-clothes unit to curb a current increase in gun violence.
"Police reform is not a 2021 issue," Adams said. "This has been a fight we've been having for a long time, so I'm not going to allow young people to be duped into thinking that this is a 2021 issue."
Adams, who does not support the movement to defund the police, has said safety should not be compromised in an effort to achieve reform.
He spoke to supporters to defund the police during remarks on Tuesday, suggesting that his opponents in the race have only embraced police reform given the recent attention around the issue.
"There is no candidate in this race that has the level of consistency in fighting for police reform than Eric Adams — no one's record compares to mine," he said.