Rikers inmate David Brown who engaged a hit man to behead Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and blow up police headquarters was arraigned on charges of criminal solicitation yesterday. Brown, with a long rap sheet - 14 felonies out of 30 convictions - mentioned that he wanted to kill Kelly to another inmate, who called in a tip to the Crimestoppers tipline. When an NYPD detective posed as a hit man and spoke to Brown, the inmate indicated he'd pay $15,000 to behead Kelly and between $50,000 and $150,000 to put bomb outside 1 Police Plaza. Brown said he wanted to kill Kelly because he was frustrated with the Commissioner's inaction during the Sean Bell shooting aftermath.
However, Brown's lawyer Justine Olderman says Brown "had no means" of actually following through. She said he suffered from mental illness, "They were just words. He didn't have the capacity or willingness. He's a man in a wheelchair, confined inside jail walls, who does not even have a penny to his name." And when Newsday called Brown's last address, a woman said she was his estranged wife said, "He's extremely disturbed. The longer he got locked up in there the crazier he has gotten."
Mayor Bloomberg said, "I don't think this had anything to do with Sean Bell. This is a deranged person and sadly, there are always these kinds of threats against the police commissioner and against others in public service, and we take them all very seriously." Olderman says that the First Amendment should have protected Brown's words to his inmate. We bet Olderman will be able to get a plea deal for Brown, because he does seem pretty out there.
The posters on NYPD Rant are split between thinking it's a publicity stunt to make Kelly look good and a genuine threat. And on Monday, Leonard Levitt's newest NYPD Confidential column looks at how Kelly has been spun as the "original" pick to head the FBI according to a Wikipedia entry.