Bratton: NYPD Closing In on Brooklyn Bridge Flag Swappers

Email a Friend
NYPD Chief Bill Bratton

New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton says investigators have a pretty good idea who replaced two American flags with two white ones on the Brooklyn Bridge last month  during an appearance on CBS "This Morning" on Friday.

Bratton said although the NYPD is closing in on a potential suspect or suspects in the flag swap, police cannot make an arrest quite yet. "Knowing is not proving," he said. "So when we have the proof, we'll move in."

The incident raised concerns about the state of security at the Brooklyn Bridge, and many criticized the NYPD for inadequately protecting such an iconic landmark, while placing too much emphasis on minor crimes in the city — especially in the wake of the death of Eric Garner, who died last month from a fatal chokehold while being arrested for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. 

But Bratton refused to wave the white flag on the policing policy known as "broken windows."  He responded to recent reports that showed police in New York City are making tens of thousand of more arrests for minor crimes than in recent years by saying, the police are stopping criminal activity before it becomes more serious and that is preferable to incarcerating more people. 

"I'd rather have more summonsable offenses, where people don't go to jail, than having more people go to jail," he said. "So you want to fill up the prisons again? Or do you want to stop the behavior, while it's still in the minor stage?"

The commissioner also addressed Garner's death during the interview, referring to video that showed police officers using a fatal chokehold on Garner as "disturbing." But he also said the video didn't tell the whole story.

Bratton was willing to concede, however, that the snippet from a longer video has induced passionate opinions from the public.