Today's long read.
Why the NYPD Is Turning on Ray Kelly -- New York Magazine
Last year ended with a spate of unpleasant Police Department headlines. On Staten Island, an officer was caught on tape bragging he’d “fried another nigger,” then pleaded guilty to extortion and civil-rights charges. In Brooklyn, eight current and former cops were arrested by the FBI for smuggling guns, among other charges. The nasty run continued: In March, a Washington Heights cop was convicted of a gunpoint sexual assault.
The NYPD was also increasingly under attack for the tactics it has used to drive crime down to historical lows and to head off terrorist strikes. City Council members, prospective mayoral candidates, and �civil-liberties groups have flailed the NYPD for stopping and frisking thousands of innocent black and Latino New Yorkers; a series of Associated Press stories has explored the department’s far-reaching surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods.
But while those debates raise important questions, they are largely about policy choices that can be either altered or continued by the next mayor and police commissioner. And the spate of outright criminal behavior by cops, ugly as it was, was not particularly aberrant: Any large organization is going to employ a handful of miscreants, and every police era has its share of corruption. More worrisome, to the functioning of the department and the maintenance of public safety, now and in the future, was the anger rumbling just below the surface of the NYPD—and, on a couple of occasions, bursting out into plain view. In September, cops contributed to a Facebook discussion on the raucous West Indian Day parade that labeled marchers “animals” and “savages.” In October, scores of cops converged on the Bronx County courthouse as sixteen of their colleagues were arraigned on ticket-fixing charges, waving signs reading JUST FOLLOWING ORDERS and some wearing T-shirts that said IMPROVING EVERYONE'S QUALITY OF LIFE BUT OUR OWN. The accumulation of woes and discontent made it look as if Commissioner Ray Kelly was suffering from something more than third-term drift. It looked as if he were losing control of his department.