Eric Leroy Adams was born in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn on September 1, 1960, the fourth of six children for his mother Dorothy, a house cleaner and cook, and his father Leroy, a butcher. Growing up in a working-class household in South Jamaica, Queens, Eric was drawn to public service at the early age of 15 after he and his brother were beaten badly by police officers; the violent encounter would later motivate him to pursue a career in law enforcement, a decision reinforced by mentors like Reverend Herbert Daughtry and Jitu Weusi.
Following a public school journey capped by his graduation from Bayside High School, Eric went on to earn an Associate in Arts degree in data processing from the New York City College of Technology, a Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and a Master of Public Administration degree from Marist College.
Eric graduated from the New York City Police Academy in 1984 as one of the highest-ranked students in his class. After initially serving with the New York City Transit Police Department, he was transferred to the New York City Police Department (NYPD) with the merging of the city’s police forces. During the course of his 22-year law enforcement career, Eric served in the 94th Precinct (Greenpoint), 88th Precinct (Clinton Hill and Fort Greene), and the 6th Precinct (Greenwich Village and West Village), where he retired at the rank of captain.
In 1995, Eric co-founded 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, an advocacy group that rose to nationwide prominence speaking out against police brutality, racial profiling, and departmental diversity. He also served at one time as president of the Grand Council of Guardians, a statewide fraternal society for African-Americans in law enforcement.
Eric was elected to the first of four terms in the New York State Senate in 2006, where he represented a diverse range of neighborhoods across brownstone and central Brooklyn. In 2013, Brooklynites elected Eric as the first person of color to serve as their borough president; he is currently serving his second term as Brooklyn’s chief executive.
In 2016, Eric was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Having lost vision in his left eye and suffering from nerve damage in his hands and feet, he went against the initial recommendations of his doctors and pursued a whole-food, plant-based diet. Within three months, Eric reversed his diabetes diagnosis, and he has subsequently been able to impact the health of countless New Yorkers facing chronic diseases, including his own mother.
Eric lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where he has resided for more than 20 years. Eric is the proud father of Jordan, an aspiring filmmaker and graduate of American University.