The New York Times is questioning a story from New York City Mayor Eric Adams regarding a photo of a fallen officer that he claims to have carried in his wallet for decades. Adams has repeated an anecdote about his fallen police colleague and friend, Robert Venable, who was fatally shot in 1987. He stated that he still thinks about Robert and has kept his photo in his wallet since taking office last year.

However, a report from the New York Times casts doubt on the mayor’s story. The article claims that the photo had not actually been in Adams’ wallet for decades. Days after Adams first mentioned the fallen officer, City Hall employees were allegedly instructed to recreate a worn-looking photo of Venable. They reportedly printed a black-and-white photo of the officer from Google and spilled coffee on it to make it appear aged.

Last year, Adams posed for the camera while holding the photo after a request from a New York Times reporter. The mayor’s press secretary, Fabien Levy, criticized the report, calling it a “campaign to paint the mayor as a liar.” Levy pointed out that multiple members of Officer Venable’s family defended Adams, including Venable’s sister, niece, and daughter.

The New York Times reported that Januari Venable, the daughter of the fallen officer, claimed not to have met Adams until this year and was surprised to learn that he carried a photo of her dad. However, in a statement provided in the city’s press release, Januari Venable expressed support for the mayor’s use of her father’s story to promote gun control.

Meredith Benson, Venable’s niece, expressed anger towards the New York Times for their coverage and said they should apologize to her family. Despite the controversy, the New York Times stated that the mayor’s office did not deny the core of their story. Adams has publicly discussed Venable’s story and shown the photo at various events.

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