Venable’s sister said the NYT “has been “harassing the family for months in a bid to undermine the family’s relationship with Adams.”
The New York Times claims a source told it that NYC Eric Adams faked the photograph of the fallen officer he claimed he had kept in his wallet since 1987.
Adams presented the photo at a press conference last week:
Mr. Adams, a former police captain who campaigned as a Democratic crime fighter, quickly sought to humanize the killings. The loss of the officers, he said, reminded him of the 1987 line-of-duty death of a friend, Officer Robert Venable.
“I still think about Robert,” Mr. Adams said at a news conference at City Hall. “I keep a picture of Robert in my wallet.”
A week later, Mr. Adams posed for a portrait in his office, holding a wallet-size photo of Officer Venable after The New York Times had requested to see it. Mr. Adams has since repeated the moving anecdote in media interviews and at a Police Academy ceremony last June, where he again displayed Officer Venable’s picture.
But the source told the NYT a different story, saying they took an image from Google last January:
But the weathered photo of Officer Venable had not actually spent decades in the mayor’s wallet. It had been created by employees in the mayor’s office in the days after Mr. Adams claimed to have been carrying it in his wallet.
rThe 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, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.
Two former City Hall aides, who asked not to be identified, said they were informed about the manipulated photo last year, not long after it was created.
Fabien Levy, a spokesman for Adams, told the NYT that the mayor had carried a photo of Venable and gave a list of names who could confirm the mayor had a friendship with Venable.
Levy didn’t respond to more requests for comments. He did say, “The Times’s efforts to attack the mayor here would be laughable if it were not so utterly offensive.”
I mean, the photo does look fake.
However, Venable’s family attacked the NYT for its report:
“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,” Venable’s daughter, Januari Venable, said in a statement issued via the mayor’s office.
“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.”
Venable’s niece Meredith Benson told The New York Post she “can’t see him doing that because he had an actual relationship with my family”:
“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% complete and true.”
“I know that they had a very good relationship,” she said. “It wasn’t that he was coming to our house for dinner… but he was someone who my grandmother could call on the phone at any time.”
“One of the things that was important to my grandmother was that, if my uncle had lived, I think she very much saw a lot of my uncle in Eric,” Benson continued. “She was very proud of all of his achievements.”
The late cop’s niece ripped the Times, accusing the outlet of trying to use her “uncle’s legacy to undo somebody.”
“It feels like a targeted attack,” Benson said, adding: “Don’t use a public servant who died in line of duty… to try to say he’s a liar.”
Denise Benson, Meredith’s mom and Venable’s sister, also said the NYT has been “harassing the family for months in a bid to undermine the family’s relationship with Adams”:
“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,” she said in the statement issued by the mayor’s office.
“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?”
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