A new report claims that a photo of a slain New York City police officer Mayor Eric Adams said he has carried for years was made last year.
According to The New York Times, the photo was made by city workers on city time and faked to make it appear old.
Adams mentioned Officer Robert Venable, a black NYPD officer, in January 2022 after the deaths of two NYPD officers in Harlem.
“I still think about Robert. I keep a picture of Robert in my wallet,” he said.
Adams later showed the media the photo he said he had carried for years, but that the Times claimed was made by City Hall workers after that comment.
The Times report said “The employees were instructed to create a photo of Officer Venable, according to a person familiar with the request. A picture of the officer was found on Google; it was printed in black-and-white and made to look worn as if the mayor had been carrying it for some time, including by splashing some coffee on it.”
The Times said its source was an individual who spoke on the condition of anonymity in fear of retribution and said two City Hall aides it did not identify said they knew about the fake photo.
Fabien Levy, a representative of Adams, said the photo shown to the media was new, but that Adams had carried a photo of Venable for years.
Adams told the Times the photo was “always in my wallet until my wallet got too bulky,” adding he now kept it in a money clip.
Should Mayor Adams be made to answer for this photo?
“He was a very dear friend and it keeps me committed,” he said.
Venable’s daughter, Januari Venable, said she never met Adams until this year and was surprised about the mayor’s claim.
“All I can say is that 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,” she said.
“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,” she said in the statement.
“Eric personally drove me and my family to Fourth of July fireworks in the past, and when I called him at the last minute to attend a memorial for my father, the mayor was there,” she said in the statement.
Venable’s niece, Meredith Benson, said she doubted the Times report.
“I can’t see him doing that because he had an actual relationship with my family,” she said.
“If he needed a story, he had a story, right? He could just say ‘I was very close to, you know, Rob’s mother and supported her through his death and supported the family’ because that is 100 percent complete and true,” she said.
Levy fired back against the story after it was published, saying, “It is disgusting that The New York Times has chosen to have Robert Venable’s friends and family relive the tragic murder of a loved one for nothing more than feeding its obsession with dissecting every single moment of Mayor Adams’ life,” according to the New York Daily News.
“Over 30 years ago, after Officer Venable’s murder, then-Officer Adams made a copy of a photo published of Officer Venable from an NYPD Transit News Bulletin — a document he still has to this day. For decades, Mayor Adams has carried a picture of his friend who died in the line of duty,” he said.
A representative of the Times then said Adams and his aides “don’t deny the story’s main point: that the photo he showed to reporters and claimed to have carried for decades was made by aides, who took steps to age its appearance.”