Last night NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly sat down for a rare in-depth interview at the 92nd Street Y. Reuters editor-in-chief Stephen Adler asked the Commissioner about everything from rumors of a mayoral candidacy ("I have no plans to run for public office.") to the possibility of drone surveillance ("You can go to Brookstone and buy a drone."). But the evening's hottest topic was, of course, the NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk policy, which was immediately placed front and center when two protesters stood up in the audience and started screaming at Kelly. Daily Intel reports:
A young black protester shot up in the audience and started screaming about stop-and-frisk. Security moved fast, but another stood immediately like a game of Whac-A-Mole, this time a middle-aged white man with wild hair yelling comparisons of Kelly's police force to the Ku Klux Klan. "He was not part of the 68 percent," said the police chief, grinning, in reference to his sky-high approval rating.
About a dozen protesters had convened out front as well, unwilling to shell out the $29 for tickets, but happy to welcome the quite bald, bespectacled crowd as they entered. "Ray Kelly, you cant hide/we charge you with genocide," the group chanted before tiring of the rhyme and growing quiet. "What about 'no justice, no peace'?" one person suggested. "The old standby," agreed another.
When Adler asked Kelly about stop-and-frisk, the Commissioner first insisted that the number of stop-and-frisks has not skyrocketed over the past decade, despite what the eggheads think about those statistics and his shockingly growing nose. On the contrary, the NYPD has just gotten better at counting. "We weren't able to record and it wasn't being reported," Kelly insisted. "We're being criticized for better record keeping." Still, 601,055 stop-and-frisks were recorded by the NYPD in 2011, up from approximately 97,000 in 2002.
Record keeping aside, Kelly still makes no apologies for the policy. "The things that we’re doing here are working and I would hate to see them change significantly," said Kelly, warning that, "People will die as a result." Of course, it's perhaps worth considering that both stop-and-frisks and homicides declined in 2012.
Reached for comment about Kelly's latest stop-and-frisk remarks, NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman told us, "It's disturbing that the commissioner doesn't think New York City's finest are capable of keeping New Yorkers safe without violating their fundamental rights. The abuse of stop-and-frisk undermines the ability of communities to trust and respect the Police Department. That makes all of us less safe. New Yorkers deserve better."