New York mayor Eric Adams has had his security upgraded after disturbing videos emerged of a person of interest in Tuesday’s Brooklyn subway shooting ranting at him by name.
Police are seeking Frank James, 62, with ties to Wisconsin and Philadelphia, in connection with the attack during Tuesday’s rush hour commute, in which at least 10 people were shot and 19 others injured.
Mr Adams’ office said it had increased his protection detail “out of an abundance of caution” until Mr James is found. Police said they had found “concerning posts” online that named Mr Adams, without saying whether they were made by Mr James.
However, a YouTube account called “prophet oftruth88”, whose videos matched a screenshot shared by police, had repeatedly posted videos addressing Mr Adams and sometimes expressing violent thoughts.
“These are the people that were supposed to be helping me,” said Mr James, gesturing at photos on a projector screen behind him, in a video seen by The Independent. “They made me worse! They f***ing made me worse.
“They made me more dangerous than I could ever have been, than anything anybody could ever fuck*** imagine. But these are the people that Eric Adams wants to send out to help the homeless and whoever the case may be.”
Over the past two years, Mr James posted more than 250 videos to YouTube, ranging freely between personal anecdotes, political polemic, and discussion of current affairs or montages of news clips.
In one video, taken while driving van through Indiana to Philadelphia, he said: “I’m heading back into the danger zone, so to speak, and it’s triggering a lot of negative thoughts of course. Because I do have a bad, severe case of post-traumatic stress, after the s*** I’ve been through over the f***ing years, man.”
Another video showed him saying: “Lest I forget, I’ve been through a lot of s*** – where I could say I wanted to kill people. I wanted to watch people die right in front of my f***ing face immediately. But I thought about the fact that, hey man, I don’t want to go to no f***ing prison.”
In many videos, Mr James, who is Black, appeared to be preoccupied with and appalled by violent crime, especially crime committed by Black people. He repeatedly expressed antipathy to Black people and blamed “ghetto culture” and “slave culture” for violence.
“Ultimately, it’s not our fault. Ultimately, it’s the white man’s fault that we’re in this condition,” he said in a video recorded at an Airbnb and uploaded on 30 March. “But then simultaneously, the reason why we stay where we are is our fault.“
His videos often show him drinking while talking to his audience, and one shows a row of empty bottles of strong liquor lined up in his Airbnb room.
According to The Daily Beast, one video showed him telling Mr Adams that he had been through New York’s mental health system and experienced treatment that made people want to “go and get a gun and shoot motherfuckers”.
Mr James reportedly said: “I have been in crisis, as a patient. I have a diagnosis that goes back to 1980, and I have been in crisis… what’s going on in these places is violence. Not physical violence, but the same kind of violence that’s similar to what a child may experience in grade school.”