The politically-connected Brooklyn pastor who said he helped broker the surrender of the man charged with killing Goldman Sachs employee Daniel Enriquez also claims he planned to hand-deliver the suspect to his pal, Mayor Eric Adams, who was supposed to be waiting at the police precinct.
Bishop Lamor Whitehead explained the plan in a Wednesday night phone interview with The Post and said he did “what I needed to do” to “protect the community” from suspect Andrew Abdullah following the unprovoked Sunday shooting of Enriquez aboard a Q train in Manhattan.
Abdullah was ultimately arrested Tuesday outside of the Manhattan Legal Aid Society office after his family took him there instead of NYPD’s 5th Precinct Stationhouse in Chinatown, Whitehead said.
The Canarsie-based Leaders of Tomorrow International Churches bishop’s involvement in Abdullah’s arrest and his relationship to Adams had garnered controversy over the clergyman’s criminal past, and his stated role in the arrest was sharply denied by justice advocates involved.
Whitehead, 44, said Abdullah’s family are congregants of his with whom he has a close relationship, which grew more intimate following the death of a teenage family member.
“His aunt and his mom reached out to me yesterday morning and told me, ‘We don’t know what to do!,’ ” Whitehead said over the phone.
“His Aunt was crying and they needed me to help them through the process. They didn’t know what to do. I told them first of all, he needs to surrender.
“They spoke to him and said that they would call me back and then they called me and said, ‘We trust you Bishop. He’s going to surrender.’ I asked them if they had an attorney and they said they were working with legal aid.”
The bishop said he told the family to have them bring Abdullah, 25, to the precinct, but said the family was adamant that he speak to a lawyer first.
“She said she spoke to the detectives and they hadn’t worked it out yet. I said if you haven’t worked it out yet the detectives will be staking out your office!,” Whitehead recalled, before explaining how he then called Adams, with whom he had appeared at more than a dozen high-profile events in Brooklyn when the mayor was borough president.
“Around 8:30 or 9 a.m., the first guy I called was the mayor,” Whitehead said.
“He said, ‘All right, this young man is alleged to have committed a heinous crime.’ He said he would support me in whatever had to happen for this young man to surrender. He trusted what I had put in place.
“I told him the family was going to meet with him, with the mayor, at the 5th Precinct and he said to keep him updated,” Whitehead said.
Word soon got out among police brass about the surrender and the bishop said he was “inundated” with calls from chiefs, commissioners and detectives.
“The plan was, he was walking in with me and I was going to turn him over to the mayor. The mayor was going to be at the 5th Precinct, because that’s what I set up with the mayor,” Whitehead explained.
“I was against them going to the attorney’s office,” Whitehead said. “They needed to come to the precinct to surrender but I left to go to the attorney’s office. I waited with the aunt and the grandmother and when I went to greet his mother, Abdullah got out of the car and the marshals bum-rushed.”
Whitehead’s account of the arrest was echoed by the Legal Aid Society.
“Before Andrew Abdullah could voluntarily surrender himself to the local precinct, he was needlessly ambushed out front of our Manhattan trial office by City Marshals, denied of his opportunity to first consult with counsel,” lawyers said in a statement.
Whitehead said he then again called his “mentor” Adams, who offered his profusive praise, according to the pastor.
“I called the mayor and let him know that he was in custody. He said ‘thank you. You protected our city. You did something tremendous. Nobody knows what this kid could have done to somebody else. You made it happen.’ “
Whitehead, who was ordained ten years after being busted for a $2 million identity theft scam for which he served five years in state prison, said his relationship with Adams is based on community service.
“I teach financial literacy to the youths and the community. I do turkey give backs on the holidays, on Christmas and Thanksgiving. A lot of donations, homeless shelters, food and clothing donations, gang prevention, peace walks,” Whitehead said.
“He’s my mentor. We’ve done a lot of work in Brooklyn when he was the Brooklyn borough president. He helped me out a lot.
“My father was Arthur Miller, he inspired Eric to start the 100 Black Officers In Law Enforcement. He was strangled by 16 police officers in 1978. He was the first I can’t breathe, before Eric Gardner”
The flashy minister also shot back at critics who “crucified” the “man of the cloth” for his designer threads and luxury vehicle, which were on full display Sunday.
“I was dressed for the day. I was going to do work for myself and my entrepreneurship but I got the call to help my community. What was I supposed to say? I should go home and change so that they can identify me as a bishop?” he asked.
“It was in my heart to help the city, New York city. So I went with what I had on! I had a Fendi jacket on.”
It’s not the first time Whitehead’s extravagance has raised eyebrows. In 2016, The Post reported he was spotted driving around Brooklyn in a Maserati and a Bentley — despite owing $261,000 for an outstanding 2009 court judgment over an unpaid personal loan.
The defendant’s lawyer threw cold water on the entire premise of Whitehead’s claims about his involvement with the arrest of Abdullah, who was being held without bail for allegedly randomly killing Enriquez, 48, while he was riding the Q train over the Manhattan Bridge on his way to brunch.
“As far as the pastor, he has no affiliation with the family. He has no affiliation with the legal team and the statements he has made claiming on behalf of the family are untrue,” Legal Aide lawyer Kristin Bruan said.
Mayor Adams had previously publicly referred to Whitehead as “my good friend and good brother,” but his office was much more guarded in response to The Post’s inquiry’s about the bishop’s account of Tuesday’s arrest.
“There is a murderer off the street and New Yorkers should be thankful to the NYPD for apprehending this dangerous individual,” spokesman Fabien Levy said.
“As the mayor said yesterday, this is an active case in front of the DA and we’re not going to say anything more that could possibly impede a trial and conviction.”