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Mayor Adams Says Reducing Crime In New York City A Priority At Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Eric Adams said Monday reducing crime in New York City is a priority.

The senseless killing of 19-year-old Burger King cashier Kristal Bayron Nieves was heavy on Adams' mind as he observed his first Martin Luther King Jr. Day in office with a vow to fix things in the name of the civil rights leader, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported.

"Being King-like is dealing with the gun violence that would take a 19-year-old child that was working in Burger King," Adams said. "There's no gun manufacturers in New York... Being King-like is stopping the source. That's what I must do."

And if he can't...

"If I am just the second African American mayor of the city of New York and I failed to stop the systemic problems that we have been facing, then I've failed... those who laid the path for me to be here," Adams said.

On the 27th anniversary of the MLK Day of Service, the debate over how to make the streets safe continued to rage.

Mayor Adams wants changes to the bail reform law, but Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez is against it.

"Some have blamed recent criminal justice reforms and have demanded a return to tough on crime policies," Gonzalez said. "This is not the answer."

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, who has come under fire for vowing not to prosecute some offenses, pledged to make gun cases a priority. But he refused to back down from policies that will keep many out of jail.

"We cannot have safety without fairness and we cannot have fairness without safety," Bragg said.

Voting rights legislation currently stalled in Washington was also a key topic of the day. Rev. Al Sharpton demanded that Congress hold a vote.

"Don't be cowardly. Stand up and say, 'Let's have a debate,'" Sharpton said.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he's working on it.

"In my mind and my heart, we are going to continue until we get full voting rights for all Americans. We will never give up," Schumer said.

"There is an insidious virus that's attacking our very core of our democracy," Gov. Kathy Hochul said. "While evil forces are trying to stop Black and brown people from exercising a right that Dr. King fought for as well and we won't let that happen."

Hochul is expected to face a tough election campaign for a full four-year term. She's anxious to win over downstate voters.

Tuesday, the governor is scheduled to unveil her first state budget. Hochul already said there will be increased education spending.

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