Kelly: Bill de Blasio and Joe Lhota pandered to get votes
New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly says Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio and the other Democratic candidates were “pandering” when they criticized police stops of young black and Hispanic men.
“They were talking about election-year politics,” Kelly told Playboy magazine in an interview published in the December issue coming out Friday. “They were pandering to get votes.”
Kelly said the candidates all claimed to be friends with him until their mayoral campaigns.
Asked in salty language by the interviewer if the candidates were “just full of” it, Kelly said “absolutely.”
A de Blasio spokeswoman said the mayor-elect had no comment on Kelly’s interview.
De Blasio has said he would not retain Kelly. He and the other Democratic candidates frequently criticized police stop-and-frisk tactics during the campaign.
Asked how he felt about being used as a “political football” in mayoral debates, Kelly said he resented it.
Kelly dismissed an exit poll that found that 59 percent of Democratic primary voters considered the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices excessive.
“Among the people, there’s no groundswell against stop-and-frisk — certainly not in minority communities,” Kelly said. “I’m there all the time. They want more proactive policing.”
Kelly also defended the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims, the subject of a series of Pulitzer Prize-winning stories by The Associated Press. The AP revealed the NYPD operated secretly in neighborhoods where Muslims lived and worked, spying on Muslim organizations and mosques and infiltrating student groups.
“Those AP writers received a lot of leaks from disgruntled people in the NYPD who had retired or didn’t get promoted,” Kelly said. He also said some federal officials resented his department’s efforts, and the NYPD was vilified for “having the nerve to more into the counterterrorism area that the federal government wanted to have a monopoly on.”
Erin Madigan White, senior media relations manager at the AP, said, “We are immensely proud of this work, which has stood up over time and scrutiny, but we don’t discuss who our sources are.”