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2007: In Terror We Trust

January 1, 2007

Here are some predictions about what we can expect in 2007.

January. As a Queens grand jury begins hearing evidence in the 50-shot, fatal police shooting of Sean Bell, an unarmed black man, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly holds a secret meeting with Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence David Cohen. Leaving Kelly’s office, Cohen, a former top official in the CIA, is overheard saying, “Don’t ask me to do this, Ray. ‘Domestic’ is not my forte.”

Asked by reporters about a possible new assignment for Cohen, Kelly says enigmatically, “Any response I give will only embolden our enemies.”

Kelly also acknowledges that shootings in the city rose during 2006 and hints the rise is related to the city’s lack of snow. “Remember,” he tells the reporters, “Snow has always been God’s policeman.”

February. Preparing for the New Hampshire primary, still a year away, Rudolph Giuliani announces that, should the American people elect him president, he will create an “all-encompassing anti-terrorism agency of unprecedented scope, the likes of which this country has never seen.” He declines to discuss specifics, citing national security.

At his side stands former police commissioner Howard Safir, who blames the 2006 rise in shootings on Kelly for having disbanded the Street Crime Unit.

March. As former police commissioner Bernie Kerik’s longtime pals, Frank and Peter DiTommaso, appear in Bronx State Supreme Court on perjury charges stemming from their $165,000 renovation of Kerik’s apartment for free, Kerik announces the formation of a new business venture: Kerik Protective Services [KPS]. His attorney Joe Tacopina describes KPS as a “high-end, high-quality, security service for high-end, quality people,” and says its first clients are Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.

Kerik adds that he will continue to speak out on foreign affairs, especially on the war in Iraq on Fox News. “As I said at the Harvard Club in 2003, Saddam didn’t do 9/11. But did Saddam fund and train al Qaeda? The answer is yes. Then ask yourself. Who hit the towers?”

Asked about his old friends, Peter and Frank DiTommaso, Kerik says, “DiTomasso? I don’t think I know that name.”

April. John Picciano, Kerik’s former chief of staff who fled to Brazil for reasons no one knows, is spotted in neighboring Peru, walking in peasant garb on the Inca trail towards Macchu Piccu. When recognized by a vacationing NYPD lieutenant, who asks Picciano where he thinks he is going, Picciano pretends he does not understand English.

May. As the Queens grand jury begins taking testimony in the Sean Bell shooting, Commissioner Kelly announces the return of the NYPD’s overseas detectives to Queens to search for the so-called Fourth Man who, police say, precipitated their 50-shot barrage by saying he had a gun. At Kelly’s side stands Cohen, who has tears in his eyes.

Former commissioner Safir publicly offers his assistance in the search for the Fourth Man, citing his own international experience, specifically his hunt for the fugitive Asian drug lord, the Kunh Sah.

June. Although the New Hampshire primary is nearly a year away, Giuliani announces that that the head of his all-encompassing anti-terror department will eclipse the combined powers of the directors of the FBI, the CIA and Homeland Security.

Speculation immediately focuses on Safir, whom Giuliani once called “the greatest police commissioner in the history of the city.” In what political pundits regard as a miraculous character shift, Giuliani refuses to rule out Kelly, who spent four hours at the Harvard club delineating to investigative reporter and author Wayne Barrett Giuliani’s lack of terrorism preparedness before 9/11.

Holding his own news conference, Kelly announces the NYPD will host a national terrorism conference at One Police Plaza, consisting of the country's most important law enforcement agencies. Not invited: the FBI, MTA, Port Authority and Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton.

July. Kelly acknowledges that homicides for the first six months of 2007 are running at 6 per cent over last year’s total. His spokesman, Paul Browne, attributes the rise to “unprecedented warm weather, which may be attributable to global warming.”

Asked if any individual should be held accountable, Browne says, “Absolutely. George W. Bush.”

August. A Queens grand jury indicts a lone detective in Sean Bell’s shooting and recommends the police department conduct “a full review of all its undercover operations.”

Kelly announces the review will be headed by Deputy Commissioner Cohen, whom Kelly transfers to the office of Community Affairs, where he will report to the department’s highest ranking black officer, Douglas Zeigler.

The Rev. Al Sharpton praises Kelly’s transfer of Cohen, saying Kelly shows “sensitivity to the concerns of all black New Yorkers.”

Kelly also announces he plans to attend a $1,000-a-head James Brown memorial service in October at the Apollo Theater together with Sharpton, the rapper Sean [P. Diddy] Combs and Reginald Ward, the only person Kelly awarded an honorary deputy commissionership in his first term as police commissioner.

September. The Detective Endowment Association hires former Bronx State Supreme Court Judge Burton Roberts as defense counsel to draft a motion to the Second Appellate Department, claiming the lone detective indicted in the Bell shooting cannot get a fair trial in Queens.

In his motion, Roberts — who filed a similar one in 2000 for the four cops charged with firing 41 shots at the unarmed immigrant Amadou Diallo — claims Albany is the only place in the state where the detective can get a fair trial.

Roberts also recommends that State Supreme Court Judge Joseph Teresi preside over the trial because of Teresi’s prior experience as presiding judge in the trial of the four Diallo cops.

Roberts disputes suggestions of Teresi’s “pro-cop bias,” and describes as “irrelevant” his appearance at a victory celebration for the four Diallo cops the night of their acquittal.

October. In a joint interview in People magazine, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan refer to Kerik as a “sweetie,” adding that he has promised to escort them to Iraq so that, as Lohan says, “We can get a feeling for the situation on the ground.”

Kelly appears at the Apollo for James Brown’s $1,000-a-head memorial service, accompanied by the department’s entire top brass, with the exception of Internal Affairs Chief Charles Campisi. Kelly refuses to say whether the top brass paid for their tickets.

Sharpton praises Kelly’s appearance at the service as showing “concern for all black New Yorkers.”

State Senator Eric Adams, a former police captain and founder of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement, says, “If Kelly’s so concerned about black New Yorkers, how come he transferred Deputy Chief Jimmy Secreto, one of the NYPD’s highest ranking black officers, to replace Gerald Nelson at the School Safety Division, a black-track job?”

Kelly describes Adams as “misinformed.”

November. With the New Hampshire primary just three months away, Giuliani announces he has decided on the man best qualified to head the all-encompassing anti-terrorism agency, should the American people elect him president: himself.

December. Kerik announces KPS’s third high-end, quality client — Paris Hilton. Cornered by reporters after an all-night party in Malibu, Hilton calls Kerik a “cupcake,” and says he has promised to escort her to Iraq “so I can get the lay of the land.”

She adds Kerik has told her they will be joined by his long-lost friend “whose name I don’t remember but it sounds something like ‘Pitch.’”

At a year-end news conference, Kelly announces that homicides for 2007 were 8 per cent higher than in 2006. Spokesman Browne attributes the rise to what he describes as “an unprecedented cold spell lasting from June through December.

“This may indicate,” Browne adds, “that past claims of global warming may have been exaggerated.”


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Copyright © 2007 Leonard Levitt