Adams tapped Andre T. Mitchell, his friend of 30 years and the founder of Man Up, the Brooklyn-based organization that deploys outreach workers to troubled neighborhoods to attempt to prevent violence before it happens, for the volunteer job. Mitchell will co-chair a new task force with Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright.
But the mayor's selection is raising some eyebrows.
The group Man Up includes former convicts and gang members who have turned their lives around. They intervene in street disputes before violence breaks out. The organization has received millions of dollars in public funding from the city.
In 2019, the city's Department of Investigation criticized the organization after discovering Mitchell had numerous family members on the payroll.
On Thursday, Mitchell told reporters that the group complied with the DOI inquiry and listened to the agency's recommendations. He said the group wasn't accused of any criminality.
Adams defended his choice.
"We're not looking for a nun," the mayor said. "We're looking for someone that's not afraid to be in the street and embrace our people."
The 502 shooting incidents in the city through Sunday represent a 10% decline compared to the same time period last year, according to NYPD statistics. But they have jumped 61.4% compared to the same time period in 2020.
"I have never witnessed crime at this level," Adams said last month on "Good Day New York."
Despite that comment, the city routinely saw 2,000 murders annually in the 1980s and 1990s when Adams worked in the NYPD compared to a fraction of that number in recent years. Adams later backtracked on his assertion.
Still, there’s no denying gun violence is a major problem.
Earlier this week, a 72-year-old woman was injured in her home in South Ozone Park when bullets pierced her windows. Adams recently called gun violence "the civil rights battle of our lifetime."