Adams defends NYPD’s 'right to have an opinion'

The mayor responded to the department’s criticism of a journalist on X

Mayor Eric Adams and senior administration officials hold an in-person media availability at City Hall on Tuesday

Mayor Eric Adams and senior administration officials hold an in-person media availability at City Hall on Tuesday Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

Don’t expect top New York City Police Department brass to stop tweeting at journalists any time soon. They have a protector at the top. 

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Mayor Eric Adams defended the NYPD officials who’ve been criticizing a well-known journalist on X over the last couple of days, arguing that police officers have a right to express their opinion. 

“I don’t think they attacked anyone,” Adams said, adding ”If a columnist has a right to an opinion, a police officer has the right to an opinion.”

The column in question, written by Harry Siegel, centered on subway safety and included one incorrect statistic about the number of people who’ve been killed in the subway this year. 

The Daily News issued a correction not long after it was published, but the personal criticism from several top NYPD leaders continued to flow, accusing Siegel of “hating cops” and spreading inaccuracies. Many New York City journalists rushed to his defense, including NY1 reporter Errol Louis who described the NYPD’s comments as “sadly unprofessional tantrums.”

One post from the official @NYPDnews account dubbed the journalist “Harry ‘Deceitful’ Siegel.” 

Deputy Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry said it was a shame that the Daily News shared Siegel’s opinion – “wild inaccuracies and all.” “We are the police. And you are a gadfly - who should consider revising their definition of madness to: reading a @harrysiegel Siegel column expecting a useful takeaway,” he wrote.

Chief of Patrol John Chell and Chief of Transit Michael Kemper also lashed out at Siegel’s reporting in a series of tweets, the latter promising that their team will no longer “allow  disingenuous and outright false reporting to be spewed unabated.”

“We will compete for the narrative. New Yorkers deserve better for their NYPD,” Chell wrote. 

On Tuesday, Adams slammed the column’s timing as distasteful – citing the fact that it was published the day after NYPD officer Jonathan Diller’s funeral. The officer was shot and killed last month during a traffic stop in Queens.

“What you saw from Chell and Daughtry was a human reaction,” Adams said. 

Siegel isn’t the first person to weather the NYPD’s ire on X. Department officials seem particularly emboldened to go after critics in recent months. In February, Daughtry and Chief of Department Jeff Maddrey directed a number of tweets at independent journalist Talia Jane that they later deleted. Also around the time of Diller’s funeral, Chell appeared to suggest that New Yorkers should vote out progressive City Council Member Tiffany Cabán. He also dared political commentator Olayemi Olurin to come and face him at the funeral.