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Bratton's Giuliani Maturity

Auguat 6, 2018

Call it maturity. Call it wisdom. After 22 years, Bill Bratton is finally offering a public mea culpa for his feud with then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani that led to Bratton’s firing, calling his past actions his “biggest professional mistake.”

Click here to read what the police brass say about NYPD Confidential“The mistake I made with the mayor was … I didn't stay close enough to him and to his vision,” Bratton told CNBC last month.

“I’ll take him at his word,” said a former top cop under Bratton. “I’ve heard him say this before. He would have gotten far more credit had he stayed around. I think he was sick to his stomach for years for losing this job. There is no more pampered person than the police commissioner of New York City.”

As for “vision,” Bratton’s explanation is somewhat misleading. His and Giuliani’s vision was identical. It was to dramatically lower the city’s out-of-control crime rate, which Bratton did, beginning in 1994 when Giuliani appointed him, a trend that continues today, 24 years later. Bratton’s problem with Giuliani was about ego; about who deserved the credit for the city’s dramatic drop in crime. Between them, credit became a zero-sum game.

The more Bratton succeeded, the more contentious his relationship with Giuliani became. Take the Feb. 6, 1995, profile by James Lardner in The New Yorker, called “The C.E.O. Cop,” which starred Bratton, who’d allowed Lardner to shadow him for months.

No saint himself, Giuliani retaliated by ordering Bratton’s spokesman, John Miller, to fire his entire 35-person staff in the NYPD’s Public Information office. Instead, Miller — who is now deputy commissioner for counterterrorism — resigned.

That fall, Bratton announced he planned to celebrate the NYPD’s 150th anniversary with a ticker-tape parade down Broadway. Giuliani went along — until he discovered that the date Bratton had selected — Saturday, Oct. 6 — happened to fall on Bratton’s birthday.

So ended the anniversary parade

Click here to read the New York Times profile of Leonard LevittFinally, there was Bratton’s mug on the cover of the Jan. 15, 1996, issue of Time magazine. There he stood in a trench coat under the Brooklyn Bridge while the story blared: POLICE COMMISSIONER WILLIAM BRATTON SET OUT TO PROVE THAT COPS REALLY CAN CUT CRIME. THE EXPERTS SCOFFED — BUT FELONY RATES HAVE DROPPED SO FAR, SO FAST, THAT NO OTHER EXPLANATION MAKES SENSE.

Two months later, never citing Time’s cover story or offering a credible explanation, Giuliani shoved Bratton out Police Plaza’s revolving door.

Bratton sucked it up for five miserable years in the private sector while Giuliani belittled his accomplishments and his successor, Howard Safir, called Bratton “Some airport cop from Boston.” In 1997, Bratton briefly considered running for mayor, and in 2001 latched on to mayoral candidate Mark Green. When Green lost to Michael Bloomberg, Bratton headed to Los Angeles, where he was police chief for seven years before returning to New York for a victory lap as commissioner under Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Click here to read the Washington Post article on NYPD ConfidentialGiuliani also made the cover of Time — as its 2001 Man of the Year, following 9/11. In 2008, he ran woefully for president.

Maybe with maturity or wisdom, he, too, might someday offer a mea culpa, or at least explain why he has become a bloated caricature of his former self as he shills for Donald Trump, making ridiculous comments about the president’s policies, his tweets and his girlfriends while denigrating the law enforcement agencies of which he was once a part.

Don’t hold your breath, though. Rudy seems to be loving it.

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