Kathleen Horan, Reporter, WNYC News
Kathleen Horan is a staff reporter for New York Public Radio, covering the neighborhood beat. She also reports 'Reset', an ongoing series documenting police-community relations in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
State Senator Eric Adams said he witnessed a rare moment of candor by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly in a 2010 meeting that shed light on the NYPD’s stop and frisk tactic.
Testifying in a class-action suit challenging the policy as unconstitutional, Adams, a retired police captain, said Kelly suggested to him that he condoned illegal stops during a closed-door meeting two years ago.
"He indicated that, you know, the reason they focus or target on Black and Hispanic youth is because he wants to instill fear that every time they leave home they could be stopped and searched,” Adams said outside the courthouse. "I was shocked, I told him that I believe it was illegal and that that was not what stop and frisk was supposed to be used for.
Adams said he, then-Governor David Paterson, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries and state Senator Martin Golden met with Kelly to discuss legislation, now passed, that prohibits the NYPD from storing information on those stopped and frisked and found innocent of any wrongdoing.
Golden, a Republican from Brooklyn, told WNYC on Monday he doesn’t recall Kelly making comments about instilling fear in individuals. He said they discussed high incidents of stops in communities of color.
“The commissioner noted those communities often also have high rates of crime,” Golden said.
Kelly categorically denied ever making the remarks Adams referred to. "It's interesting that apparently only Adams heard this statement, although others were present," remarked Kelly at an unrelated news conference. He noted that Adams has a history of criticizing the department.
Kelly has touted stop and frisk as an important crime-fighting tool vital to the city’s historic crime lows. Adams said the tactic is helpful when used correctly.