Less than a week after incoming New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly "cleared the air," the outgoing top cop took another shot at de Blasio, who pledged during his campaign to "end the era of stop-and-frisk" policing that Kelly directed and strongly defended.
Kelly complained of "the misguided policies that would bring us back to the past" during his glowing introduction of Manhattan Institute scholar Heather MacDonald at Thursday evening's black-tie gala Wriston Lecture at the Essex House on Central Park South, attendees told Newsmax.
Kelly, the city's longest-serving police commissioner, didn't mention de Blasio by name.
But Kelly clearly was referring to the mayor-elect when he warned of "those that would impose unnecessary, onerous restraints on our police officers," and defended what he called "the police tactic of stop, question and sometimes frisk," eliciting sympathetic laughs from the audience.
Praising MacDonald, whose scholarship has provided evidence for the effectiveness of the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policy, Kelly said she has "a laser-like ability to cut through the distortions and lay bare the truth."
"Heather is a New York treasure, and I have a feeling she is going to have a lot of fun around here over the next few years," Kelly said, in another apparent allusion to de Blasio.
Kelly also used quotes from a recent New York Post article by MacDonald to warn that de Blasio might reverse New York's huge strides against violent crime under Mayors Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg, whom de Blasio is replacing.
"Now, I've been around law enforcement for a long time," Kelly said. "In my opinion, no one has written more incisively about the role of proactive policing, the role that it's played in New York City's resurgence over the past two decades, than Heather."
"In her words," he said, quoting MacDonald: '"Too many voters have never grasped the immensity of the city's public-safety advantage over every other American metropolis, nor the reasons for it . . . The New York and the national crime declines are not the same phenomenon, and policing is the sole source of New York's massive margin of success over the rest of the country.'"
Kelly did not, however, quote the conclusion of MacDonald's article, which warned that the de Blasio era could be disastrous for New York City.
"Ray Kelly's untiring stewardship that . . . has kept the department focused like a laser beam on public safety for over a decade," MacDonald wrote, "is now under dire threat. The NYPD is about to come under the thumb of two competing power sources: a federal monitor, appointed by Judge Shira Scheindlin as part of her shockingly biased ruling against the NYPD's stop-question-and-frisk policies, and the City Council's recklessly created inspector general."
De Blasio's regime, MacDonald wrote, may likely "distract the NYPD from its paramount duty of protecting the law-abiding."
Speaking in Harlem last Saturday, de Blasio said, "I had a good conversation with" Kelly the day before, in which "we cleared the air."
It was their first talk since Kelly agreed with an interviewer in the most recent issue of Playboy magazine that de Blasio and other Democratic candidates for mayor this year were "full of ----" in their criticism of aggressive policing in the city.
"Absolutely," Kelly said of de Blasio and the other candidates. "They'll say or do anything to get elected. I know all these people. They all claimed to be friends of mine up until their mayoral campaigns. They'd call me on the phone and ask for information or come over here and sit in this chair to get briefed."
De Blasio said in Harlem, "I am convinced Commissioner Kelly will work very productively and positively with us" in helping his successor make a smooth transition.
But that was before Kelly's latest comments.
Kelly and Bloomberg have credited stop-and-frisk with saving more than 7,300 lives over a decade.
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