An article in the latest New York magazine titled “After the Killings, Bill de Blasio and Bill Bratton Now Have the Most Critical Relationship in New York” gives an insight into Commissioner Bratton and how he is dealing with the fight between the mayor and New York’s Finest. That dustup came to a head with the execution-style murder of two cops two weeks ago.
The article is revealing in many ways. One of the most interesting parts is the admission by Bratton that sitting down with “community organizer” Al Sharpton after the killing of Eric Garner was probably a mistake.
It’s late afternoon on Friday, December 19, and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is surprisingly serene. Fourteen floors below his office at One Police Plaza protesters are massing, once again, to block the entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge. They’re chanting, “Hey, ho! Racist cops have got to go!” as a smaller, pro-cop rally starts to gather directly across the street. In the waiting room outside Bratton’s office, the flat-screen TV tuned to NY1 is playing and replaying cell-phone video showing an NYPD plainclothes cop punching a suspect as he is being handcuffed. Bratton is concerned, certainly. Yet he remains visibly unruffled, reclining in a leather armchair. A puppet replica of his late great sidekick and co-strategist, the former deputy police commissioner Jack Maple, is propped on a shelf. Yes, Bratton says, in hindsight it was probably a bad idea to sit on one side of the mayor with the Reverend Al Sharpton on the other at a City Hall press conference back in July, after the death of Eric Garner. True, his first year back atop the NYPD has been stressful, particularly in the past month. Two weeks ago, on the afternoon a Staten Island grand jury announced it would not indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the cop who had wrapped his arm around Garner’s neck, Bratton was briefly hospitalized for dehydration.
Now that the police commissioner believes Sharpton should not have the role he has been given out of fear of insulting the black community, maybe he should try to convince the mayor to reach out beyond Sharpton to real leaders of the black community.
Bratton’s statement was published the day after former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani recommended that the president and the mayor disassociate from Sharpton.
He [Obama] has had Al Sharpton to the White House 85 times. Often when he’s talking abut police issues he has Al Sharpton sitting next to him. If we like to have poster boy for hating the police it’s Al Sharpton. You make Al Sharpton a close advisor you turn the police in America against you. You’re going to tell the police in America we don’t understand you. I saw this man help cause riots in New York. I’ve heard his anti-police invective first hand.
Cross-posted at The Lid