[UPDATE with a statement from Bloomberg's spokesman below.] Mayor Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly have yet to comment on an offensive Facebook group that complained, in highly derogatory terms, about being assigned to police the West Indian-American Day parade. But other officials have been quick to express outrage, including but not limited to Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Council Member Jumaane Williams. You can read their condemnation of the group below—right after you take the full tour of the ugly comments, which were sent to us by attorney Benjamin Moore. We should note that not all of the comments below were made by NYPD officers, and so far no NYPD officer has admitted to making one of the comments:
The Facebook group has since been taken down, but not before attorneys representing a man facing gun charges discovered that an NYPD sergeant was a member. Lawyers gave it to the NY Times, which broke the story this morning, sparking widespread condemnation. Here's Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, whose aide Kirsten John Foy was detained by police during a fracas following the West Indian-American Day Parade:
No one can consider him or herself a public servant who thinks and speaks this way. The officers who have allegedly made these derogatory and disgusting remarks, directed at African-American and West Indian New Yorkers, are an embarrassment to the NYPD and its maxim of courtesy, professionalism and respect. I urge Commissioner Kelly and the Internal Affairs Bureau to immediately investigate. If these allegations are substantiated, the officers involved must face the strongest possible discipline.
And here's Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer (who, it just so happens, is running for mayor with ScarJo):
I am deeply troubled by reports this morning that hateful and reprehensible comments were allegedly posted by NYPD officers and other city employees on Facebook about New Yorkers who participate in the West Indian Day Parade. I urge the NYPD to conduct a swift and thorough investigation to determine if these appalling comments were, in fact, made by police officers. New York must ensure a zero-tolerance approach to racist speech and action, whether it's in the NYPD or anywhere else.
Over to you, Borough President Marty Markowitz. It's completely devoid of corny puns, so feel free to fuggedaboutit:
The offensive and racist language used in these online posts is reprehensible, and if it’s proven that NYPD officers engaged in this totally inappropriate behavior against our Caribbean American community, they should be disciplined to the fullest extent possible. It’s important to remember that most of the men and women in blue serve our city with distinction, honor and respect and that this appears to be a case of a few bad apples. But there cannot be tolerance of intolerance in our diverse borough and city, and if you’re a police officer who can’t respect the communities you serve, then you shouldn’t be serving at all.
The West Indian American Day Parade & Carnival is the largest public cultural celebration in the City, drawing millions of spectators to Crown Heights and the surrounding area to experience the food, pageantry and culture of Brooklyn’s vibrant Caribbean community. Certainly those responsible for making these comments don’t speak for the majority of Brooklynites and New Yorkers, who not only warmly embrace Brooklyn as the ‘Caribbean Capital of America,’ but all of the diverse communities that make our borough ‘proud home to everyone from everywhere.'
And finally tonight, Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, who was also arrested along with Foy after this year's parade:
I cannot say that today's report surprises me, based on the growing avalanche of these stories coming from every corner of New York City. Yet, Mayor Bloomberg and Commissioner Kelly have maintained their deafening silence towards this issue. Neither of them are willing to admit there is a systemic problem with the culture of the NYPD. They both have insisted that each case is a bad apple here or there; what we now have is a bumper crop of bad apples. We have a bushel of bad apples. What is the bar? What is the threshold for recognizing the problem?
I maintain that everyone should be able to express themselves, particularly in their private lives. What concerns me is that the racist language used here matches up with racist NYPD policies such as stop, question and frisk. It really underscores the crisis facing communities of more color in this city. They have every right to express their concern that they are not being defended by local police officers, but rather are under attack.
We continue to call for a meeting with Mayor Bloomberg, Commissioner Kelly and members of the black and Latino community who can speak to the problems they face with the NYPD policing culture and policies such as stop, question and frisk. We hope that they will now realize how crucial this meeting has become for the good of this city.
Update 6:02 p.m.: Mayoral spokesman Stu Loeser tells us, "The Police Department is investigating and will handle the matter appropriately, as they always do. If the comments reported are accurate and from the officers, they are completely unacceptable."