Police Commissioner Bill Bratton on Tuesday called out former commissioner Ray Kelly for comments he made on a radio show questioning the city’s crime statistics.
“Those comments were outrageous,” Bratton said, speaking at an unrelated news conference. “My cops work hard, very hard, to beat gun violence in the city. So for him to denigrate that hard work that has resulted in shootings being reduced significantly in this city, and claim that [in] some fashion we’re playing with the numbers — shame on him. Let him back up that allegation.”
Earlier in the week, Kelly appeared as a guest on “Reaching Out with Gregory Floyd,” hosted by the president of Teamsters Local 237. An excerpt from the interview was posted to the union’s website.
“I think you have to take a look at those numbers because I think there is some issues with the numbers that are being put out,” Kelly told Floyd. “I think there is some redefinition going on as to what amounts to a shooting, that sort of thing.
“All administrations want to show that crime is down,” he added, “but you have to take a hard look at those numbers.”
Bratton shot back at him, saying he should back up his claims.
“If you’re going to make it, stand up,” Bratton said. “Be a big man and explain what you’re talking about.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Kelly said in a statement he was “troubled by the eroding qualify of the life in the city,” specifically referencing a 20% increase in homicides by guns. He said victims who suffer a graze wound, or someone who is cut by flying glass in a shooting, are not classified as shooting victims.
Kelly also accused the NYPD of classifying victims who refuse to cooperate with police as having self-inflicted wounds.
“Members of the New York City Police Department have informed me that the current administration has changed the way shootings victims are calculated,” Kelly said. “All in an effort to reduce the reported number of shootings.
“This information, supplied by active members of the department themselves, in no way denigrates the hard work of our police officers,” he added. “Rather, it reveals an administration willing to distort the reality of what they face on the street.”
A representative for the NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Kelly’s latest statement.