Michelle Wu broke a two-century-old streak of white, male city leaders and became the city's first woman and person of colour elected as mayor.

Former police captain Eric Adams was a vocal critic of the police department, advocated for Black officers and spoke out about injustices.
Former police captain Eric Adams was a vocal critic of the police department, advocated for Black officers and spoke out about injustices. (Reuters)

Former police captain Eric Adams has easily won the race for New York mayor and Boston has elected its first woman and Asian American to the city’s top job.

Voters in both the US cities on Tuesday picked local leaders who were largely defined by their stances on police and crime.

Adams, who will become the second Black mayor of the nation's largest city, first triumphed this summer in a crowded Democratic primary after he struck a nuanced stance on law enforcement issues. 

His message on crime and his experience as a police officer largely insulated him from attacks from his Republican opponent Curtis Sliwa, the founder of the Guardian Angels anti-crime patrol.

He described being beaten by police officers as a teenager when he was arrested for trespassing. 

When he later became a cop, he was a vocal critic of the police department, advocated for Black officers and spoke out about injustices. 

But he did not embrace calls from some progressives to defund the police by shifting money from law enforcement to social work and other programs aimed at addressing the root causes of crime.

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Michelle Wu attended Harvard University and Harvard Law School.
Michelle Wu attended Harvard University and Harvard Law School. (AP)

Wu advocates liberal approach

In Boston, Michelle Wu espoused a more liberal approach to policing and called for bigger reforms, but her history-making win came in a campaign dominated more by debates about issues such as affordable housing.

Wu and her opponent, fellow council member Annissa Essaibi George, chiefly clashed over issues such as affordable housing, public education and transportation. 

But differences on policing and crime also emerged between the two Democratic women in the nonpartisan race.

Wu, a daughter of Taiwanese immigrants and a protege of liberal Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, had called for major police reforms. 

Before she was a candidate, Wu joined other city council members in calling for a 10 percent cut to the police department’s budget.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies