City Council NYPD Budget Hearing Goes Beyond Dollars and Cents

Kelly Gives and Takes Heat

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A ritual City Council hearing on next year's NYPD budget turned into a heated two hour back and forth between NYPD Commissioner Ray  Kelly and his council critics on everything from the department's stop-and-frisk strategy to its covert surveillance of Muslim-Americans. Kelly was quick to dismiss calls from members of the council for an Inspector General to provide independent oversight of the NYPD.

"I think there is plenty of oversight that is in place right now. We have five District Attorneys. We have two U.S. Attorneys. We have the Committee to Combat Police Corruption, we have our own internal oversight," Kelly said.

Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito was sharply critical of the NYPD's stop-and-frisk" policy, saying it disproportionately singled out innocent young men of color. Mark-Viverito cited a recent Quinnipiac Poll which showed a major racial divide when it came to support for the controversial strategy. She asked Kelly if it bothered him that while 59 percent of the whites surveyed approved of stop-and-frisk, just 27 percent of blacks polled supported it.

"Commissioner, I want to respect you but I want you to answer that one specific question do those numbers and gap in the way the sentiment is expressed by people of color in this city, does that have any concern to you?" Mark Viverito asked Kelly. Mark-Viverito said communities of color "felt under siege" by the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk.

"Let me tell you what should also be of concern to you, 96 percent of the shooting victims in this city are people of color, 90 percent of the people who are murdered are people of color," Kelly responded. "Now stop-and-question is one of the strategies we use. There are a whole host of others that have reduced crime significantly." He noted that murder this decade decreased by 51 percent. Kelly said he planned on meeting with the City Council's Black and Latino caucus, although no date was discussed.

Councilman Brad Lander asked for a detailed breakdown on how the NYPD funds its intelligence division and how much was being spent on the department's controversial covert surveillance of Muslim communities and college campuses. Lander noted the counter-terrorism budget was projected to grow from $29.5 million to $47.4 million, a 60 percent increase "even as we are cutting other essential services like patrol officers." 

Kelly said he did not have an itemized breakdown but that the bulk of counter-terrorism efforts was paid for with federal grants.

Council members also pressed Kelly on the hundreds of millions of dollars spent annually on NYPD overtime, suggesting that the city could actually save money by hiring more officers. Currently the Department has 34,700 officers, down from 41,000 in 2001.

A final NYPD budget has to be approved by the end of June.


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Comments [6]


>>Kelly also said, "I'm waiting for leadership in these communities [to] say something about how we stop the violence."<<

Oh wait, have you read the bios and past work experience of all these Council Members? Not a one would be able to survive outside of politics and govt. support. Ran a business? Actually worked in a field that generated some income/profit? Nahhh...that is what raising taxes is for!

Mar. 17 2012 10:35 PM
Matthew Swaye from harlem

“Please pardon the high police presence while we turn this into a white neighborhood.
We’re making a show of force to assure safe passage for white bodies that will live in all these new glass buildings,” says the sergeant.
goldman sachs executives arrested in harlem

Mar. 16 2012 04:49 PM
political pop from America

how do you call yourself a Muslim and live in America??? like whats the point of being muslim? mabey all muslims should be christians

Mar. 16 2012 03:02 PM

As a person of color, I know stop and frisk does not help the police department find criminals. All it does is demonize and demoralize a community of men. Slavery supposedly ended in 1863, but the actions of this society, particularly the nypd, makes it clear, if you are a person of color you are open to anything, any treatment, you don't count.

Mar. 16 2012 11:43 AM
Herb from NYC

Keep it up NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. 3 Cheers for NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly. Keep up the good work.

"stop and frisk" strategy to its covert surveillance of Muslim-Americans." Keep up the good work.

Mar. 16 2012 08:49 AM
John from office

Thankfully, Ray Kelly put these "leaders" in their place. They have no solutions. How about people in the "hood" stop killing each other, work on that city council.

Mar. 16 2012 08:22 AM

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