Democratic Mayor Eric Adams of New York City ordered city staff to produce a worn-down image of an NYPD officer he had known to buttress his claim that he’d been carrying it around for years, The New York Times reported Thursday.
At a press conference shortly after he was sworn in as mayor regarding the deaths of two NYPD officers, Adams spoke of a late officer, Robert Venable, whom Adams had known when he served in the NYPD and who was killed in the line of duty in 1987 — saying “I still think about Robert … I keep a picture of Robert in my wallet.” An investigation by The New York Times revealed that he had later asked staffers in the Mayor’s Office to create the image, so as to allegedly justify his claim that he’d carried it.
Staffers were told to create a worn-down photo of Venable, according to an undisclosed source in the Mayor’s Office who spoke with the NYT. They did this by printing out a photograph of Venable which they found via a Google search, and printed it in black-and-white to make it appear dated.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) July 6, 2023
Staffers also fiddled with the printout to give it a worn-down appearance, which included splashing coffee on the photo, according to the NYT. The story initially shared with the NYT was confirmed by two staffers in the Mayor’s Office, who also remained unnamed.
Adams has been photographed holding up that picture at several official engagements, primarily involving the NYPD. His office claims that the photograph was obtained by Adams 30 years ago, and has been carried by him all that time, per the New York Post.
Adams has denied that this occurred, with his spokesperson writing that “efforts to attack the mayor here would be laughable if it were not so utterly offensive,” referring to Adams’ friendship with Venable. His spokesperson said that “the paper continues its unsuccessful campaign to paint the mayor as a liar,” referring to the NYT.
The NYT also reported that city resources were spent on creating the photo, suggesting that public funds were spent on Adams’ effort to buttress a claim for political reasons.
Venable’s daughter and niece were contacted by the Times for comment on the story. In response, his daughter said, “as far as being in his wallet or not, the fact that people still think of my dad all these years later — whatever the meaning behind it — it makes me thankful that he’s not being forgotten,” though his niece claimed that she would be upset if Adams had been untruthful about the photograph.
The NYC Mayor’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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