De Blasio’s New NYPD Commissioner Would Have Crushed OWS
Above: Bill de Blasio with Bill Bratton
DeBlasio picks a police commissioner who is not opposed to ‘stop and frisk’ and who would have stopped OWS from occupying public space.
NY activists should now know, to get the change needed DeBlasio will require constant pressure.
Bill de Blasio, NYC’s new Trotskyite Sandinista Commandant, was an outspoken supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement and many of the progressive values it espoused. He spoke at Zuccotti Park in October of 2011, and heralded the activists for dragging “the growing crisis of income inequality out into the light of day.” He called Bloomberg’s decision to evict the occupation in the dead of night “troubling” and said he would have let the protest “play out.” His police commissioner, however, would have swept that park clean as soon as the first twinkle fingers hit the air.
Capital New York reports that incoming NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, known for his “broken windows” approach to law enforcement during the Giuliani administration, told a former New York City official that if he were commissioner during Occupy Wall Street he would have “cleared them out right away.” And during a speech in Manhattan last year, Bratton bluntly stated that “You can’t allow people to occupy public space.” Here’s exclusive video showing the subtext of yesterday’s press conference:
Bill de Blasio’s transition team did not respond to our request for comment on Bratton’s Occupy Wall Street remarks. But it’s not just Occupy Wall Street supporters who may be disappointed by our new commissioner’s fascist disregard for the Constitutional right to freedom of assembly. Although the NYCLU tentatively embraced de Blasio’s choice for commissioner yesterday, Bratton has been an enthusiastic supporter of the controversial stop-and-frisk tactic. In an interview with the New Yorker earlier this year, Bratton “emphatically endorsed” stop-and-frisk, saying:
First off, stop-question-and-frisk has been around forever. It is known by stop-and-frisk in New York, but other cities describe it other ways, like stop-question-and-frisk or Terry stops. It’s based on a Supreme Court case from 1968, Terry v. Ohio, which focused very significantly on it. Stop-and-frisk is such a basic tool of policing. It’s one of the most fundamental practices in American policing. If cops are not doing stop-and-frisk, they are not doing their jobs. It is a basic, fundamental tool of police work in the whole country. If you do away with stop-and-frisk, this city will go down the chute as fast as anything you can imagine.
At yesterday’s press conference, Bratton said he was committed to reducing stop-and-frisk and improving community outreach. Time will tell where Bratton really stands on the policing strategy, and if he is truly on board with de Blasio’s promise to “create an environment where the stop-and-frisk era—the stop-and-frisk as we knew it—ends. We’re not going to proceed with a policy where 90 percent of the people stopped are innocent in every way shape and form.”
And Muslim Advocates, a group that joined a lawsuit challenging the NYPD’s allegedly unconstitutional surveillance of Muslims, is “seriously concerned” about de Blasio’s choice, issuing a statement yesterday saying Bratton “has a troubling record of supporting the types of practices that have caused so much concern among New Yorkers, and mayor-elect de Blasio has made a campaign promise to reform the NYPD because of these very issues.”
The group added that Bratton promoted “a widespread data gathering and mapping project targeting innocent American muslims in Los Angeles which was defeated only after public outcry and the intervention of then-Mayor Villaraigosa.” On the plus side, at least he loves literature?