Eric Adams took things to biblical proportions during a speech among religious leaders Thursday, saying the authors of the Bible would be right alongside him were they alive today.
Adams, 61, spoke in front of dozens of faith leaders at a Christian praise rally in City Hall Park on Thursday, where he said the scribes would be helping him with his plan to clear the homeless from encampments.
‘We are on the wrong road as a city. We have tolerated homelessness, walked past our brothers and sisters who are living in tents on the street, and we’ve normalized it,’ he said. ‘I can’t help but to believe that if Matthew, Mark, Luke and John was here today, he would be on the streets with me, helping people get out of encampments.’
He also believed they would be on his side saying young people need to stay out of jail, affordable housing and health care.
‘Those disciples of yesteryears are with the disciples of today of saying it’s not about just talking about it, it’s about being about it.’
Eric Adams took things to biblical proportions during a speech among religious leaders Thursday
Adams, 61, spoke in front of dozens of faith leaders at a Christian praise rally in City Hall Park on Thursday, where he said the scribes would be helping him with his plan to clear the homeless from encampments
Though it appeared Adams was referencing the disciples of Jesus Christ, he is actually referring to the four traditional Gospel writers of the New Testament, as Luke was neither one of Jesus’ 12 apostles nor was a disciple.
Regardless, Adams called for unity in facing these issues and in trying to fix them.
‘That’s why, as the mayor of the city of New York, we’re tearing down the walls that divide the knowledge of our faith-based institutions and this administration,’ he said. ‘We are in this together, and that’s the only way we are going to get out of it.’
The prayer rally by City Hall was just one day after Sanitation Department workers cleared the encampments in the East Village, throwing whatever shelter and belongings they had into their trucks.
This was two days after the City Council’s progressive caucus, a majority of the body’s membership, denounced Adams.
‘By demolishing these street encampments, the mayor is telling people, many of whom have nowhere else to go, that they don’t belong,’ the caucus said in a statement put out Tuesday.
City officials had already cleared out the camp on East 9th Street last Thursday, Gothamist reports, but within a matter of hours, the group reestablished their camp in the same location with the help of local activists and mutual aid groups – who donated four blue tents and blankets to their cause.
They also put up flyers claiming it would be cheaper to house them than to move them into shelters, as well as signs saying ‘Housing solves homelessness.’
By Tuesday, the NYPD gave the homeless individuals 24 hours to pack up their belongings and dismantle the camp themselves, ABC 7 reports, and at around 9am on Wednesday sanitation workers returned to the scene.
They were soon trailed by several police cars and around 15 officers who blocked off the street and pressed into the camp trying to negotiate with the homeless people to pack up their belongings and move into shelters.
But by 11am, ABC 7 reports, nearly two dozen homeless rights activists showed up at the scene and blocked off sanitation crews’ access to the camp as the homeless men and women once again refused to leave their tents and demanded they be placed in actual apartments rather than a shelter or transitional beds.
What ensued was a more than seven hour standoff culminating in the arrest of six activists as well as homeless man John Grima, 37, who led the protest. He was charged with obstructing governmental administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
The NYPD has been ordered to crack down on homeless encampments by Mayor Eric Adams as he deals with soaring crime across the Big Apple.
A New York Sanitation worker was pictured safely disposing of a syringe at the site of a former homeless camp
Following a more than seven-hour standoff between the police and homeless protesters, sanitation workers were seen throwing one of the four blue tents the homeless people resided in into the back of a garbage truck
The camp on East 9th Street in the East Village was previously cleared out on March 31, but within a few hours, the homeless individuals returned to the site with tents donated by activists
Sinthia See, one of the homeless women who resided at the site, held up a sign as she protested for her and others to be given housing rather than be put in a shelter
See sat by her tent, on which she wrote ‘This is a shelter’ before the NYPD and other governmental services cleared it out
John Grima, 37, led the protest on Wednesday and refused to leave his tent, saying he has had too many bad experiences in shelters and safe havens
Grima was pictured arguing with police before he was ultimately arrested on Wednesday evening
Police spent hours Wednesday trying to get the homeless men and women who inhabited the site to leave voluntarily before they eventually called in reinforcements from the Strategic Response Group and around a dozen more community affairs officers, who worked to clear the sidewalks and threatened anyone who remained with arrest.
One by one, the homeless individuals at the site – which they dubbed Anarchy Row- began to leave voluntarily, Gothamist reports, until it came down to Grima, who refused to leave his tent.
Grima said he has been homeless for years and has been in and out of the shelters and safe havens, where he has had too many bad experiences.
‘Homeless shelters and safe havens are abusive environments,’ he told Gothamist. ‘How do you expect people to get help for their mental health issues and their substance abuse issues in an abusive and toxic environment?’
Police eventually collapsed Grima’s tent around him, and several officers piled on top of him, placing him in zip ties, Gothamist reports. All the while, he chanted: ‘I want apartments for all my homeless people.’
Sinthia Vee, a homeless woman who also set up camp at the site, also said: ‘This is where we make our stand. We’re tired of this crap.
‘I’m not spending three years getting staph infections in another shelter, waiting while everyone says they won’t rent to me.
‘It’s not going to happen.’