- Associated Press - Friday, March 29, 2024

New York City Mayor Eric Adams marked Good Friday by receiving a jailhouse baptism from the Rev. Al Sharpton, joining in on the religious rite with a group of men incarcerated at the troubled Rikers Island jail complex.

The ceremony came as part of a visit to the jail complex where Adams was scheduled to meet with detainees on the Christian holiday.

“Having been arrested and then elected mayor, I reminded these young men that where you are is not who you are,” Adams, a Democrat, said in a statement. “For the first time in their lives, their mayor didn’t look down at them - I sat side by side with them to be cleansed and recommit ourselves to getting on the right path.”

Images from the event, provided by the mayor’s office, appear to show Adams interlocking hands with Sharpton during a prayer, the reverend washing Adams‘ feet and Adams being baptized.

Adams and the civil rights leader have close ties through their long tenures in New York politics. Adams often calls into Sharpton’s satellite radio show and the pair have appeared together at City Hall events.

Plagued by violence and neglect, the city-run jail complex, has been the subject of an ongoing legal battle that could result in a federal takeover of the facility.

The mayor had also visited Rikers earlier this week to meet with detainees. In an interview this week on New York City radio show “The Breakfast Club,” Adams said he met with “a group of 12 young brothers who recommitted themselves to Christ.”

“I’ve been on Rikers Island more than any mayor in the history of the city talking with inmates and correction officers to turn around what’s happening on Rikers Island,” Adams said in the heated radio interview, which aired Friday.

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