For the first time in NYC history, the NYPD now has four black police commanders to oversee the four districts comprising the heart of Harlem. DNAinfo reports that Captain Steven Griffith was recently promoted to run the 26th Precinct. Deputy Inspector Kevin Williams runs the 28th, Deputy Inspector Rodney Harrison runs the 32nd, and Deputy Inspector Ruel Stephenson oversees the 30th. "Is any of this all an accident?" an unnamed former police official who is black asks. "Or is it a reaction to the department's problems over stop and frisk and other community issues?"

Concern that the promotions are mainly based on optics is shared by John Pritchard, who became the department's first Deputy Commissioner under Ray Kelly in 1992 and previously worked for the FBI and the MTA. “There was a time when I would have cheered if the commanding officers of those precincts were all black,” Pritchard told Weiss. “I don’t think it's bad. But I would have to know if there were politics involved. If it was intentional because of race then it is a bad thing, and it just sets back what they should really be trying to achieve.”

It's worth noting that journalist and NYPD expert Leonard Levitt wrote in 2009 that Pritchard "had literally no responsibilities" during his tenure as Kelly's first deputy. "Instead, Kelly dealt with the commanding officer of Pritchard's office, Gene Devlin."

Tim Pearson, the vice president of the New York chapter of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement, also points out a barrier in which black NYPD officers have failed to break through: downtown. “One thing Commissioner Kelly has not done, there has never been a black precinct commander below 59th Street,” Pearson says. “That is where the business people are, the crème de la crème, so to speak, and when he has done that, he will have come full circle.”

Still, others claim this is progress: “It says a lot about how the department has grown in its diversity over the years. I wish we could have done this years ago,” one former Deputy Inspector, who is white, told Weiss.

And the torrent of stop-and-frisks, which the city has pointed to as a major reason for a lower murder rate has subsided considerably. Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly have maintained that the number of stops conducted has always been based on pure necessity, but it's hard to see the mounting criticism not playing a part in the decrease.

Here are just three interactions from 2012 caught on film between NYPD officers and Harlem residents, the last one showing an officer forcibly obstructing a camera man's lens. And here's the story of a Harlem teenager who was told by police that the reason for his stop-and-frisk was that he looked like a "fucking mutt."