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Kelly and Holder: A Mid-Summer's Tale

June 17, 2013

Here is a transcript of what could have been last week’s telephone exchange between Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who informed Kelly of the White House’s intercession in the Stop and Frisk lawsuit. Reader, be cautioned. It is not pretty.

We begin with Kelly.

Kelly: Let me be frank, Mr. Attorney General. You have a lot of nerve interceding like this at the last minute. You have called for an outside monitor of my police department without even listening to our arguments as to why Stop and Frisk is essential for the safety of New York City.

Holder: Commissioner, you had an opportunity to present your arguments at the Stop and Frisk trial. The trial lasted months but you refused to testify. Instead, you presented your arguments to the Post and the Daily News,

Kelly: Mr. Attorney General, New York’s murder rate is the lowest in this city in modern times.

Holder: What “modern times?” Commissioner, you have a certain flair for hyperbole. I think what you mean is the lowest murder rate since the late 1960s.

Kelly: Mr. Holder, since my return as commissioner in 2002, Stop and Frisk has entailed five million police stops, primarily of young black males. This has made New York “The Safest Big City in America.”

Holder: Let me stop you right there, Commissioner. That “Safest Big City in America” even tops your “modern times” nonsense. Your arch-enemy, Rudy Giuliani, invented that phrase, The Safest Big City in America. Even though the Post and the Daily News repeat it every time you or Mayor Bloomberg opens his mouth, everyone in law enforcement knows the numbers are based on outdated FBI statistics. Even the Bureau acknowledged this in its 2004 Uniformed Crime Report To use their own words, “It has not been a true indicator of the degree of criminality.”

Kelly: Where did you see that?”

Holder: I read it in NYPD Confidential. [Nov 18, 2005.]

Kelly: I never read it. But let me say something else, Mr. Attorney General. Bill Bratton, one of the greatest police commissioners in the history of this country, supports Stop and Frisk. He recently called it “basic policing” and said “It’s incredibly naive to suggest otherwise.” Bratton added, “If police don’t have that tool, you’ll have anarchy.”

Holder: But he added something else, Commissioner. He said the problem wasn’t the policy but the tactic — the way you employ Stop and Frisk. He said a political decision was made to reduce the size of the police force to save money. Then you, Commissioner, put another 1,000 cops on counter-terrorism duty and flooded high crime areas with rookies without proper supervision. So if they make a mistake in how they do a stop-and-frisk, if they’re disrespectful, if they don’t have the appropriate cause, there’s nobody to correct them.

Kelly: Bratton is a has-been. He has always been jealous of me. He wants my job. He’s been lobbying all the mayoral candidates except for Christine Quinn to reappoint him Police Commissioner. When he was Police Commissioner in Los Angeles and visited New York, I refused to take his call.

Kelly [Con’t]: And let me say something else, Mr. Attorney General, I think you’ve been influenced by professional police haters.

Holder: What, me influenced by police haters?

Kelly: I happen to know that you were lobbied by Al Sharpton, who still hasn’t acknowledged he made up those Tawana Brawley lies and still owes hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes. And who, by the way, who I’ve known since I patrolled a beat in Harlem as a young cop 50 years ago.

Holder: Look, Ray, nobody lobbied ...

Kelly: Don’t call me Ray. I’m the Police Commissioner of New York City.

Holder: Look, Commissioner, nobody lobbied me.

Kelly: Well, Mr. Attorney General. Let me read you a statement from Sharpton’s press officer, Rachel Noerdlinger, that she gave to NYPD Confidential, which, as I said, I never read.

Kelly [reading]: “It would be accurate to say Rev. Sharpton & NAN [the National Action League] met with the DOJ [Dept of Justice] and their position has been made clear at NAN's convention the past two years where AG Holder has spoken.

Holder: O.K., so I did speak to Sharpton. You speak to Lupica.

Kelly: Did you read his latest column? He called me the best police commissioner in the country. He’s a great sports writer.

Holder: Used to be a great sports writer. You know the best article he ever wrote? It was about the straw that stirs the drink. Reggie Jackson, Thurman Munson. But that was in what, 1977? Almost 40 years ago.

Kelly: That’s a little personal, Mr. Attorney General. And speaking of personal, I think what you guys are doing now to Stop and Frisk is payback because the mayor and I objected when you wanted to try the terrorist, Khalid SheikhMohammed, here in New York City.

Holder: You were just sore that President Obama didn’t consult you in advance. You made up the figure of $400 million to provide security and another $206 million in annual costs.

Holder [Con’t]: And the President was gracious enough that he still complimented you on capturing Najibullah Zazi after you and your friend David Cohen nearly blew the FBI’s investigation by secretly contacting your own informant, who tipped off Zazi’s father.

Kelly: Let’s not go there. I could bring up a few things about the FBI. Like how they didn’t follow through on the Russians’ tip on the Boston marathon bombers. Or how an FBI agent killed their Chechen pal in Florida as they were interviewing him. The agent had two guys with him and he shot him to death because his life was in danger? Even the Russians are laughing at that one.

Holder: You have problems of your own Ray, er, Commissioner. You want to know your biggest problem? You’ve stayed in the job too long. You’ve lost credibility. You’ve lost your 9/11 aura. People aren’t afraid of you anymore.

Holder [Con’t]: I sure wouldn’t want to be in your shoes when all the spying you’ve done on the Muslims comes out in the new book by those two AP reporters, Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo, who won the Pulitzer Prize for exposing the spying. And what was the result of all of it? Three mopes, egged on by your undercovers. The FBI thought two of them were so pathetic they wanted nothing to do with your cases.

Holder [Con’t]: And what about your detectives stationed in ten countries overseas. I read what you said at the 92nd Street Y in January. When the moderator asked whether there had been any actual tips about potential attacks in New York that you picked up overseas in any of these offices, you answered, “No.”

Kelly: Where did you read that?

Holder: NYPD Confidential. [January 14, 2013]

Holder [Con’t]: And you know what’s worse? It’s how you’ve lied to the public all these years. All those terrorist plots you say that the NYPD prevented? Like the Brooklyn Bridge when you knew that your so-called police presence at the bridge had nothing to do with stopping that terrorist trucker from Ohio from cutting the bridge’s cables. And then saying you have officers guarding the bridge day and night because the bridge is an iconic landmark. Well, just explain to me, Commissioner, with all that round-the-clock security, how did that graffiti artist Lewy BTM manage to scribble his name on the bridge in three places last June?

Holder [Con’t]: And I have a message you can give to Mayor Mike. Remind him that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I’m referring to his attacking those three or four Democratic Senators who voted against the gun control bill. Mayor Mike has obviously never spent any time west of the Hudson River. If he did he would know that anti-Semitism still exists out there. His attacks are going to backfire. Those Senators are going to run on a platform of fighting the Jewish billionaire from New York.

Kelly: Well, as long as we’re sending messages about good intentions, I have a message you can give to President Obama. You can tell him that being a leader involves more than good intentions. When you say something, you have to mean it. Otherwise, no one will trust you and your enemies will no longer fear you.

Kelly: [Con’t]: And not just your enemies. I know he means well and wants to keep America out of war after the disaster in Iraq. But he said to the Israelis, “We’ve got your back.” If he does not honor those words, he will be seen as a false friend and consigned to oblivion.

Edited by Donald Forst

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