Top cop Ray Kelly and his spokesman Paul Browne have been on the defensive all week after they were caught lying, or misremembering, the details of Kelly's involvement in an Islamophobic propaganda film that was screened on a continuous loop for over 1,300 officers. Asked again about the controversy yesterday, Mayor Blooomberg told reporters, "Anything like this doesn’t help credibility. Ray’s got to work at establishing, or re-establishing, or reinforcing the credibility that he does have [with the Muslim community]. In other news, the NYPD has credibility with the Muslim community?
Not so much, says Cyrus McGoldrick of CAIR-NY, a group that advocates for Muslim civil rights and has called for Kelly's ouster. "This controversy has moved beyond an issue of poor judgment in the use of an Islamophobic training film to an issue of the integrity of public officials," McGoldrick said in a statement. CAIR-NY and several other groups also called for Browne's resignation, and even Bloomberg criticized his storytelling abilities. "I keep saying to everybody, ‘Get the whole story out right away,’ and that’s to keep it from going on and on and on, and to give the public the information they need," said Bloomberg. "That wasn’t done as well as we could have done it, and next time we’ll do it a little bit better."
Browne initially said that Kelly's 30 second appearance in The Third Jihad was taken from old interviews without the NYPD's permission. But the Wall Street Journal reports that a day later "Browne reversed himself, saying he realized upon checking old emails in response to a request from a reporter that he had personally arranged for Mr. Kelly to be interviewed by one of the filmmakers in 2007." Browne claims he assumed the footage was from another Kelly interview. "I assumed wrongly," Browne—who has previously made an ass out of you and me—tells the Journal. "I should have checked."
But Bloomberg also defended Browne, calling him "honest and competent." And today Kelly defended the NYPD's record with the city's Muslim community—the AP reports he even went so far as to describe the relationship as "excellent." He knows it's excellent because the NYPD is monitoring the relationship closely.