Yesterday representatives from the ACLU, the NAACP, and Al Sharpton's National Action Network called for the suspension of the NYPD commander who was taped telling his subordinate to specifically target "male blacks 14 to 20, 21" for stop-and-frisks in the South Bronx. In response, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne disseminated a full-throated defense of Deputy Inspector Christopher McCormack. "Deputy Inspector McCormack did what a good commander is supposed to do. Direct officers under his command to protect the public," Browne wrote in an email. "Or as he eloquently said 'the 99% of the people in this community (who) are great, hard working people who deserve to walk to the train stop, walk to their car, walk to the store [without fear of getting shot].' "

Browne continued:

It's important to note the context of Deputy Inspector McCormack's taped remarks; he was describing suspects in patterns of burglaries and robberies who were victimizing people in a specific part the precinct, not racially profiling. The inspector's concern was that the officer was not focusing on serious crimes—instead the officer was more concerned with people blocking an entrance to a building elsewhere in the precinct. The message was for the officer to go to where the robberies and burglaries occurred, keep his eyes open and take appropriate action in response to suspicious or criminal behavior.

Some additional context for the Deputy Inspector's comments: the overwhelming pressure officers are under from union delegates and commanding officers to meet monthly quotas that the department insists do not exist, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

McCormack's statements were recorded by officer Pedro Serrano, who testified last week at the ongoing federal stop-and-frisk trial that he taped his commander because “they’re asking me to do something that’s illegal, I believe, and I was worried."

In addition to making NYPD officers present those they stop with ID, and inform them that they do not have to consent to searches without probable cause, the Community Safety Act currently being debated by City Council would establish an independent Inspector General to oversee the America's largest law enforcement agency.

Mayor Bloomberg said that such oversight would be "disastrous for public safety," and that the department already gets plenty of oversight—by its own officers, the agency that can be overruled by the NYPD, and a man who is friends with Ray Kelly.