Democratic mayoral candidates focus on crime in final debate before NYC primary

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City's primary election is less than a week away, and the Democratic candidates spent their final debate focusing on police and crime Wednesday night.

"If there were a correlation between policing and public safety, we'd be the safest city in the world," Dianne Morales said.

Wednesday night's debate focused on police and crime, including an alarming uptick in shootings and violence on New York City subways.

"To be quite honest with you, these are complicated times, and several of my opponents are using #DefundThePolice," Kathryn Garcia said. "I just don't think that's the right approach."

Tonight, Maya Wiley, who has recently jumped in the polls, focused on stop and frisk, and she unloaded on Eric Adams.

"And the worst idea I've ever heard is bringing back stop and frisk and the anti-crime unit from Eric Adams which one, is racist. Two, is unconstitutional, and three, didn't stop any crime," Wiley said.

Adams calmly pointed out that Wiley has private security guards in her Brooklyn neighborhood.

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"You don't have to worry about danger when you have private security on your block. I don't and never will allow stop and frisk to be returned and abuse people," he said.

Andrew Yang also attacked Adams -- and also on crime.

"The worst idea I've heard from another candidate is Eric Adams' advice to bring a firearm to church as a safety measure. I think it speaks for itself," Yang said.

As the frontrunner, Eric Adams was ready to hit back, and he ripped Yang for proposing a universal basic income and then downsizing it.

"UBI, it went from UBI that Mr. Yang had. Then it went to borough bucks. Then monopoly money and then it went to hope and prayer," Adams said.

"I can't believe you're attacking me on this. You think we can't afford this?" Yang said.

Scott Stringer, down in the polls after an accusation of sexual harassment, tonight showed his skill as a debater, eviscerating Yang, who said he can fix the city's homeless crisis by upping the number of psychiatric beds.

But the headline here was policing and whether cutting police will end up hurting minority neighborhoods.

"I'm going to do it again. Black and Brown communities do not defund or stop and frisk, full stop," Ray McGuire said. "Morales you are not speaking for Black and Brown communities. I am a member of that community, and you are not speaking for me."

After the fifth day of early voting, more than 84,000 New Yorkers have already cast their ballots.

Earlier in the day, Adams, joined supporters in Cadman Plaza to roll out his new television ad countering what he says are the many false attacks against him.

"We have six more days to determine the destiny of our city," he said. "Six more days. And in those six days, we're going to continue to fight to make this city a fair, safe, affordable place to be. And I want to encourage you to continue to be part of this movement."

Terrence Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, endorsed Adams for mayor on Wednesday afternoon. In his endorsement, Floyd, a New York resident, emphasized Adams' deep commitment to police reform.

If we are going to make true systemic change in this country, we need leaders like Eric Adams to be in positions of power, and that is why I am supporting Eric for mayor of New York City," Floyd said. "Eric is the racial justice leader we need right now, and I will be proud to join him on Election Day at the polling booths when he votes, beginning what I believe will be a wave of positive change for this city and our country."

Adams is determined to project an air of confidence, if not inevitability.

"No one on the stage has a resume like me," he said.

Still, his closest opponents are running hard to upend this race.


Garcia campaigned in the Greenwich Village, where she promised, if elected, to create the city's first-ever Office of LGBTQ+ Affairs.

"I am running for mayor because I believe the most progressive thing that a government can do is work for everyone," she said. "Right now, it isn't working for the LGBTQ community, especially young New Yorkers."

Wiley released her own campaign ad giving Adams a run for his money when it comes to projecting confidence.

"I am Maya Wiley, I have that courage, and I'm asking for your vote," she says in the ad.

Find your local polling place

Meanwhile, Yang biked to the polls to cast his early vote.

"I am like three quarters of registered Democrats in New York City, where I voted in gubernatorial and presidential elections," Yang said. "But this is a very difficult time in New York City's history, and we need to step up. So I think we're going to see a lot of people voting for the first time in this race, and I'm excited for that."

The one-time frontrunner has seen a dramatic drop in the polls and is now in fourth place, but he believes the end result will be a surprise because nearly 40% of people voting this season are first time voters -- and they want to see a change in politics.

"There are so many people I talk to who are very excited to vote, but they're planning to vote on the 22nd," he said. "So I think we're going to see tremendous turnout, and there are some indications that a lot of new voters are showing up, which is very exciting. But I think a lot of it is going to be on the 22nd. It's one reason why I'm voting today, to let people know they don't have to wait until then."

RELATED: Check wait times for your polling location

Polls will be open at various times through next weekend:
Wednesday, June 16, 2021 from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Thursday, June 17, 2021 from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM
Friday, June 18, 2021 from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Saturday, June 19, 2021 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Sunday, June 20, 2021 from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM


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