Kelly: “I Asked You For A Solution To The Problem Of Violence In These Communities Of Color”


kellyNYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly fired back at elected officials who criticized the stop-and-frisk program and pushed them to offer another solution to curb gun violence.

Not one could cough up an answer.

“What have you said about how to stop this violence?” Kelly asked. “What have the leaders of these communities of color said? What is their tactic and strategy to get guns off the street?”

Kelly, normally cool and composed in public, appeared agitated as he sat at a table inside a City Council hearing room.

“I asked you for a solution to the problem of violence in these communities of color,” he said. “I haven’t heard it.”

The heated debate popped off after

Kelly testified before the City Council’s public safety committee Thursday to outline the NYPD’s $4.6 billion proposed budget for fiscal year 2013.

But some City Council members with an agenda of their own seized the opportunity to berate Kelly on the department’s policy to stop, question and frisk people in their communities.

City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito said the East Harlem community she represents feels “under siege” and that the tactic only raises tensions between residents and the police.

She pointed out the results of a recent Quinnipiac University poll that found only 27% of black voters in the city agree with the practice.

“That should be of concern to you,” Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan) said to Kelly. “If you don’t say you are, I would be very concerned as a citizen of this city.”

Kelly barely flinched.

“We always have an issue of tension because of what we do,” Kelly said. “Yes, the police arrest people. We use force. We’re the bearers of bad news. We do stop and question people. . . . But what I haven’t heard is any solution to the violence problem in these communities. People are upset about being stopped, yet what is the answer?”

Kelly turned the tables on Mark-Viverito, and asked her to provide an alternative to the stop-and-frisk program. Again, nothing.

City Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Brooklyn) chimed in by saying the practice is “demoralizing the community.”

In 2011, the NYPD stopped more than 684,000 people, a record high. The stats, obtained by the NYCLU, show about 10% of those stops resulted in an arrest or a summons. About 53% of the people stopped were black, 34% were Hispanic and only 9% were white.

A frustrated Kelly continued to argue Thursday that the city’s murder rate has dropped significantly in the past decade – in part – due to stop and frisks.

Kelly said the only other solution offered to get guns off the streets has been the gun buyback program, which has helped collect more than 7,600 illegal guns since 2006.

“What’s unique about that program is African American ministers came to me about black-on-black crime,” Kelly said. “And what they’re saying is there is no political leadership. There’s nobody talking about a solution.”

Kelly nodded to the elected officials and tossed one last barb.

“You give criticism, but you don’t have answers,” he said.

The commissioner later said that he wasn’t upset that the argument distracted from the budget hearing.

“The bigger issue is the level of violence that exists,” he said. “It would be nice to hear some constructive remarks about how we can address that problem.”

{NY Daily News/ Newscenter}