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In Case you Missed it: Civil Rights Leaders, Family Members of Robert Venable Sound off on New York Times

July 7, 2023

Civil Rights Icon Dr. Hazel Dukes Criticizes NYT for “Another Shameful Attempt to Tear Down” City’s Second Black Mayor

Civil Rights Icon Reverend Al Sharpton Highlights Mayor Adams’ Efforts to Tackle Gun Violence

Venable’s Niece Calls on NYT to Issue Apology to Family for Making Them Relive Trauma, Conducts Interview with News12 Westchester

NEW YORK – Yesterday, The New York Times published a story with the ultimate goal of questioning New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ close relationship with fallen New York City Police Department (NYPD) Transit Officer Robert Venable, who was murdered in 1987, and who then-Officer Adams came up with in the NYPD. While the initial inquiry mentioned a photo of Venable that Mayor Adams made a copy of decades ago, all initial questions in writing focused on the Times’ claim that there was no real relationship between the two former officers.

After the story, members of Officer Venable’s family, as well as former Transit officers who worked with Officer Venable and then-Officer Eric Adams came forward to criticize The New York Times’ effort to create a divide between Mayor Adams and the Venable family and create the implication that Mayor Adams and Officer Venable were never friends.

Tonight, civil rights icons Dr. Hazel Dukes and Reverend Al Sharpton came forward to criticize The New York Times’ efforts to undermine Mayor Adams and his administration.

Additionally, Officer Venable’s niece came forward again to call on The New York Times to issue an apology to her family for using her uncle’s name simply in an effort to criticize Mayor Adams.

In case you missed it…

Dr. Hazel Dukes, former president, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People:

“Like Mayor Dinkins before him, Mayor Adams is frequently facing unfair, biased attacks in the media meant to undermine his administration. The Times article is yet another shameful attempt to tear down our second Black mayor and disempower the working-class people of color who elected him as their representative.”

Reverend Al Sharpton:



Meredith Benson, Officer Venable’s niece:


Meredith Benson also conducted an interview with News12 Westchester yesterday, where she made clear that not only was Mayor Adams close with her family after Officer Venable’s murder, but that she made clear to The New York Times that the mayor was right to call attention to her uncle’s murder in an effort to rid New York City of gun violence.

Hear it in her own words:

Family member of fallen NYPD officer defends Mayor Adams amid New York Times report 

Reporter Tara Rosenblum: “Benson told me her entire family struggled after Officer Venable’s death too, but that Eric Adams was there to support them long after the cameras stopped rolling.

Meredith Benson: "I mean, the reporter who contacted our family, I told her, I told her specifically, I was like, ‘Is Eric helping to decrease crime in New York City?’ ‘Yes’ Then that’s what, that’s what this is about. He used my uncle’s story, his relationship with my uncle to highlight gun violence. And that's what he should be highlighting. And for you to try to use my uncle's legacy to discredit him is ridiculous."

Yesterday, other members of the Venable family additionally issued statements criticizing the Times’ efforts to create a rift between the Venable family and Mayor Adams.

Januari Venable, daughter of Officer Venable:

“I was only eight when my father was murdered. I don’t remember most of the people who were there for my family, but in the 36 years since I lost my father, Eric Adams has been there, even after the cameras were gone. Eric personally drove me and my family to Fourth of July fireworks in the past, and when I called him last minute to attend a memorial for my father, the mayor was there. When the mayor met my son at that very memorial, he immediately recognized my dad’s smile. Like I told the Times, if the mayor can do some good by using my father’s story to get more guns off the street, I am happy for him to do so.”

Denise Benson, sister of Officer Venable:

“I didn’t know all of my brother’s friends, but Eric Adams had a wonderful relationship with my mother and was there for my family when it mattered despite The New York Times’ effort to drive a wedge between us. For months, the Times has harassed our family and annoyed us persistently, all in an effort to undermine our relationship with Eric, but he has shown up for us over and over again — where has The New York Times been? Our family will not be swayed to give up on my brother’s dedication to community and public service. Even our niece still continues our family’s commitment to community and public service today as an MTA police officer, wearing her uncle’s badge daily to honor his legacy.”

Further, numerous former members of the NYPD also found the Times’ inquiry deplorable and offensive and commented on the reporting yesterday.


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