Commissioner Bill Bratton says Ray Kelly’s overuse of stop-and-frisk created “awful” morale in the NYPD.
In saying so, Bratton spoke the truth.
“Police Commissioner Bratton was absolutely correct when he said that morale of the police force is awful,” said PBA president Pat Lynch. “Commissioner Bratton’s assessment is accurate,” said detectives union president Mike Palladino.
In an interview broadcast by WABC-TV on March 30, Bratton said: “The commissioner and the former mayor did a great job in the sense of keeping the community safe, keeping crime down, but one of the tools used to do that, I believe, was used too extensively.”
Can anybody disagree with that? Yes, the Daily News and the Post.
Bratton’s comments so unhinged the Daily News that it lampooned him in a cartoon, depicting Kelly on the ground with a black eye and two cops saying to him: “Can you identify the mugger?” In the background a man is fleeing. “Bratton” is written across his back.
The next day, the News quoted Kelly’s older brother Donald, who called Bratton “paranoid” and described his criticism of his brother as “a cheap shot.”
In January, it headlined a story on John Miller, Bratton’s deputy commissioner for counterterrorism: “TV GUY IS NEW TERROR CHIEF.” It quoted an unidentified, high-ranking counterterrorism official who said: “The pick [of Miller] will be ridiculed around the globe by terrorists.”
That — an unattributed quote of dubious accuracy — was a cheap shot.
The Post called Bratton’s remarks a “cheap shot,” too, although it acknowledged Bratton may have been right on stop-and-frisk.
Former Post editorial page editor Bob McManus wrote in a column, without any evidence: “Kelly’s strong suit was focus and clarity of purpose; Bratton, to put it bluntly, is a bit of a flutterbug.”
Meanwhile, the number of stop-and-frisks plummeted in 2012 and 2013, including an 86 percent drop during the last quarter of 2013.
Kelly didn’t acknowledge the reasons for the drop — the increasing political controversy surrounding them, said the NYCLU’s Chris Dunn. “To do so,” Dunn said, “would have undercut his narrative and oft-stated claim that stop-and-frisk was essential to public safety.”