NY Police Chief Ray Kelly Says The Boston Bombing Takes Privacy 'Off The Table'

from the not-that-there-was-much-left-on-table... dept

In light of the recent Boston bombing, NYPD Police Chief Ray Kelly is now restructuring some sort of nonexistent deal with New Yorkers, issuing a clawback on their civil liberties. According to Kelly, the Boston Marathon bombing means privacy has been “taken off the table.”

“I’m a major proponent of cameras,” Kelly said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “I think the privacy issue has really been taken off the table.”

Some of you may take issue with Kelly’s assumption that the privacy “offer” has been rescinded (or that it’s truly his to rescind). Well, guess what. Your opinion means nothing, at least not to the chief of the NYPD.

“The people who complain about it, I would say, are a relatively small number of folks, because the genie is out of the bottle,” Kelly said. “People realize that everywhere you go now, your picture is taken.”

Ray Kelly doesn’t care much for civil liberties. He’s already been questioned about the NYPD’s “anti-terrorism” efforts (aided by the FBI), largely comprised of various (failed) efforts to infiltrate the Muslim community. While it’s failed to produce any terrorists, it has managed to tread all over the community’s civil liberties. During that discussion, a Brooklyn councilman bluntly stated that the counterterrorism efforts looked to be based on “profiling” rather than on any “real leads.”

He’s also been queried about the notorious “stop and frisk” program, something that largely targets young minorities (87% of all stops are non-white) while failing to produce much in terms of results (only 1 in 10 stops result in a summons or arrest; weapons are only discovered in 0.2% of the stops).

Kelly has defended these two programs with a pair dubious claims. On the anti-terrorist side, he proudly states that the city has not been attacked by terrorists since the 9/11 tragedy. Considering the average person is 8 times more likely to be killed by a cop than a terrorist, this claim is nothing more than Kelly attempting to take credit for a statistically improbable event not happening. It’s about as meaningless as claiming no one has been struck by lightning twice while under his watch.

As for the “stop and frisk” program, Kelly claims the reduction in crime speaks for itself. But as NYCLU Director Donna Lieberman pointed out, there’s precious little evidence this program did anything more than tag along for the ride as crime decreased across the nation.

Kelly nevertheless claims the program has saved thousands of lives during the last decade by reducing violent crime, an assertion that Lieberman calls “demonstrably false.” She notes that homicides were already falling in New York before Kelly launched the stop-and-frisk program in 2003 and that since then they have declined more quickly in other big cities.

Speaking of “speaking for itself,” this quote is allegedly Ray Kelly’s goal for “stop and frisk.”

According to [State Sen. Eric] Adams, Kelly “stated that he targeted or focused on that group because he wanted to instill fear in them that any time they leave their homes they could be targeted by police.”

So, we already know Kelly’s general attitude towards the rights of the citizens under his care control. It appears his view on privacy is just more of the same. The question is, how much more surveillance does he feel is justified? New York already rivals the capital of Knife Crime Island Great Britain in terms of camera usage. London’s “Ring of Steel” is an Orwellian construct (even the nickname conjures thoughts of Soviet Russia’s surveillance of its own citizens) that funnels drivers into areas populated by thousands of unblinking law enforcement eyes. Kelly has openly expressed his pride in NY’s emulation of London’s surveillance system.

Kelly acts like increased surveillance is a forgone conclusion after the Boston bombing. The investigation’s most useful images and video were captured by individuals and private businesses, not by PD cameras, something surveillance advocates like Kelly keep conveniently forgetting. He claims only a few will complain and the rest will just fall in line. But where is he hearing this cry for more police and government surveillance?

As far as I can tell, there’s been no public outcry demanding that the police, FBI, etc. do something to prevent another tragedy. The only voices I’ve heard are a variety of self-contained echo chambers who hear only the reverberations of their preconceived notions.

Kelly certainly likes hearing “privacy is off the table,” even if the words had to originate from his own mouth. He said it because he truly believes it. But it serves a secondary purpose as well, something I’m sure Kelly is fully aware of. Making this statement as the resident police chief in the nation’s largest city sends the message to like-minded law enforcement entities that now is the time to expand surveillance efforts. After all, who’s going to stop you? A “few complainers?”

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Comments on “NY Police Chief Ray Kelly Says The Boston Bombing Takes Privacy 'Off The Table'”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Hmm...

Do you really want videos of a cop telling you that a loved one has been killed in a car accident, or the video taken by the cops at the accident scene available to the public. Limiting access to the people involved, or their representative respects the privacy of the people interacting with the cops, unless and until they make it public, including using it in court.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Hmm...

Your sad story does not convince me that we don’t need to hold public representatives more accountable than the public. Car accidents and death are reality. Maybe people seeing more acutal reality would be a good thing. You seem to be fine giving up some of your privacy already, why not do so for the right reason? The solution to many of our current problems is simple. Tell the truth! No secrecy, no corruption, no propaganda. Fucking liars.

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Hmm...

Cops have never been about preventing crime. Law enforcement has always been about dealing with people after they’ve committed a crime. Occasionally they might stop a crime in progress, or just their presence might be enough to deter a crime from starting or escalating.

In other words, law enforcement’s responsibility in terms of the Boston bombers was to catch them after the crime occurred and then to deal with them. And look, law enforcement did just that. So why is there a need for more cameras? Why is there a need to reduce privacy?

I say let’s make a deal. The only way privacy is off the table is if absolute security from crime is provided. If they can provide that, then maybe we can allow a loss in privacy. And I mean absolute security. No Boston-like bombers can ever occur again. No homicides, 1st degree, 2nd degree, or manslaughter. No robbing, stealing, thieving, or any of the like any more. I should be able to leave buckets of money in plain view on my front lawn and not have to worry at all about any of it going missing.

If that’s not the level of security that can be provided, then privacy is not off the table.

That is what Franklin meant by his famous quote. You don’t deserve safety if you give up liberty, because you can’t get safety by giving up liberty. Thus, if you’re willing to trade liberty for nothing (which is what you get from the trade) then you don’t deserve liberty.

Ninja (profile) says:

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

These people need further history classes.

And honestly, by the time there’s enough surveillance to stop crimes before they take place the Govt will be bankrupt. There must be a balance between surveillance, due process, education of the young and punishment to avoid crimes.

If there’s enough certainty that one will be judged and punished for their crime it’ll be a deterrent to most criminal-wannabes. The ones determined will commit crimes regardless of how much you squeeze the general population. This is a classic case of punishing an entire population because of the actions of a few.

Jay (profile) says:

Hold it...

This is the same guy responsible for breaking up the Occupy campus for “cleanliness” while taking a massive donation from Chase bank to support their interests.

Further, that surveillance program is funded by the very people that he is protecting: the rich and powerful.

So he is correct in saying that he wants less privacy for the people that are out of his jurisdiction. The problem is, that’s everyone that isn’t making millions a year.

Rob says:

Re: Re:

How do these idiots not fall down more?

A law enforcement official pushing to expand his powers after a shocking crime is about as “idiotic” as a guy going to his boss for a raise when whatever he’s working on succeeds fantastically. It’s all about waiting for the opportunity.
So I’d say that “opportunists” is the better word.

Coogan (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

A law enforcement official pushing to expand his powers after a shocking crime is about as “idiotic” as a guy going to his boss for a raise when whatever he’s working on succeeds fantastically.

An expansion of law enforcement powers almost always comes at the expense of the rights of the citizenry. Getting a raise from your boss doesn’t necessarily mean your taking money away from your coworkers.

Rob says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’m sorry. I should have been much, much, much more clearerer in my comparison, so as to avoid any possible misinterpretation that perhaps getting a raise was oppressing and penalizing one’s co-workers, rather than my intended point. My intended point, that which I intended one to infer, and that which I tried to imply, was that, like a worker who asks for a raise when the time is right, the police chief is no fool for grabbing power right after a serious incident. That he’s not an idiot for doing the wrong thing, but rather that he sees an opportunity and grabs it. One case for good, but one case for bad. The chief’s case is the “for bad” one.

Now, in the case of the chief, it should go without saying, but I suppose it doesn’t, that this power grab and his oppressive attitude is a bad thing, so let me say it. It is bad that the chief takes this opportunity to gather more power and shrink the liberties of the citizens at large.

A worker who asks for a raise at the right time is also clever, but what he does is in no way an oppression of the people, or even his co-workers. The similarity is the timing, that is to say, sensing that there is an opportunity and taking it, whether for good (getting a raise) or bad (increased surveillance of the people).

Again, I’m sorry that I was unclear. I merely meant that the chief was no idiot. An evil not-idiot. I should have been clearer. One can be a good not-idiot, but one can also be a bad not-idiot. The chief is the bad guy here, not the wise worker. Wise worker OK, chief bad.

Coogan (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Understood, and I agreed with your original point while I was writing the response. This person, and those in power who think like him, are most definitely not idiots. They know exactly what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. They are opportunists by any definition of the word. They’re fully aware of what they’re saying.

Dan Z says:

Its funny that so many law enforcement agencies are so keen to film everyone, for everything under the incredibly slim likelihood of a terrorist event, but are incredibly opposed to their officers being filmed in the course of their duties to ensure there is no abuse of citizens. Not to mention the insane privacies granted to LEO, their names arent released even when involved in fatal shootings of questionable cause. Some animals are more equal than others.

Anonymous Coward says:

anyone think that perhaps the Boston Bombings, as horrific as they were, may have been done intentionally, so as to back up those that were trying to get CISPA up and running, trying to remove more of the peoples freedom and privacy, trying to back up claims from people like Kelly? i always wonder what those same people would do, what they would feel like if, having done nothing wrong, never given any reason to be ‘stopped and frisked’, these things happened to them? i now wonder as well how far Obama is going to let this situation go because it is truly getting way out of hand!!

Malibu Cusser (profile) says:

From Mirriam-Webster, terrorism is:

Systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective.

From the quote above about stop and frisk:

“stated that he targeted or focused on that group because he wanted to instill fear in them that any time they leave their homes they could be targeted by police.”

Aside from ‘use of violence’, how exactly are they different? Why can’t people realize these that by us reacting as we do, we only encourage more terrorist acts?

TheLastCzarnian (profile) says:


I think it would be a good idea for someone to put a camera or two outside of his place of residence, and post the stream online.
That will leave him to either reconsider his position or face the concequences of taking privacy “off the table.” i.e. evernyone will know when he’s home, when he’s gone, who comes over when he’s gone, etc. I’d say he’d crack in 2 weeks.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: But...

But some people don’t have a choice. They live in the worst areas and have had their lives uprooted and ruined for this guy’s personal benefit. He wants to destroy people’s lives just because they are in the way of his power grab.

That’s what’s most disturbing about his admission of ignoring their pleas for the sake of their suppression of civil rights.

Anonymous Coward says:

He’s also been queried about the notorious “stop and frisk” program, something that largely targets young minorities (87% of all stops are non-white)….

Maybe they’d have greater success by targeting 60+ year old white women on the upper East Side?

…..while failing to produce much in terms of results (only 1 in 10 stops result in a summons or arrest;….

Wait, every hundred stops nets 10 criminals. It’s actually 1 in 8 according to th NY ACLU ( “Stop-and-Frisk Data”. New York Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved 20 March 2013.) That’s way, way more than a random occurrence. Far better than sobriety checkpoints. Sounds like it works.

….weapons are only discovered in 0.2% of the stops).

Ok, 2 per thousand stops. How many thousand stops have been made? Let’s see, in 2011, there were 684,000 stops. : Translation: 1368 weapons off the street each year.

Rapnel (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Holy crap. So in 2011 they stopped 1/12th of the population of the entire city? For a random search and pat down?

Something tells me that at the heart of that that “legal muster” is irrelevant at best. That or someone needs to get better lawyers.

1/12 of the population searched because a guy with a badge says so? Yeah, someone is lighting their pipe with some ripped up founding documents I think. That’s just horrifying. Safety is just not the first thought that crosses my mind when death by cop is more likely than death by bomb. And if you’re not living the freedom you thought you were I think it might be about time to choose.

meddle (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Nice use of “statistics”. In fact, if one actually looks at the numbers, there were 731 actual arrests of people possessing guns in 2011. There is no data that indicates how many of these were actually legal weapons or how many people were actually tried or convicted. The other weapons cited range from knives to stun guns. Hardly worth the greater than 615,000 people who had their rights violated.

Rapnel (profile) says:


You want to know what else is off the table? Me giving one iota of crap what this guy thinks of privacy. In this country no less. He doesn’t deserve to keep his badge. In fact, he should probably be deported from whence his ancestors have come.

Soon possession of the text of the Constitution will be considered evidence against you.

NY police chief is a fucking cunt.

Anonymous Coward says:

Chief Ray Kelly, may be more right than he imagines.

Privacy as we know it will die, we are able to record every moment of our lifes today, there is not a place on earth that there is not a recording device available and the tools to mine this information will be from the government and from the public, the government will try to piece our lifes together and the people will track and piece the lifes of government personnel.

So yeah privacy is off the table at least the privacy we conceive today, that one is dead and gone, the thing is, is not just the government with the ability to keep an eye on things now is everyone for better or worst this is times we live in.

This will be a battle to reestablish boundaries and see what works and what doesn’t.

Done it right loss of “privacy” will mean nothing, and that is the people who can take that privacy away without exposing others to bad experiences as much as possible will be the people in control of that new environment, no matter what others say, if people don’t feel the negative impact, if it cannot be felt it will be a fairy tale, which is why law enforcement probably will never get that kind of approval ever because what they do in fact affects people in a very real sense and that is why nobody will give them control over their “privacy”.

End of crazy talk.

Eponymous Coward says:

The hypocrisy of this statement:

-Kelly has defended these two programs with a pair dubious claims. On the anti-terrorist side, he proudly states that the city has not been attacked by terrorists since the 9/11 tragedy.-

I would love for an enterprising journalist to ask Kelly about when NYC gets attacked again if he will then admit that these programs are a failure. I doubt he would even entertain such a line of questioning for it gets right at the heart of how those in authority set up these arguments in a way that no matter the outcome they, and the programs they spearhead, end up on the winning side of it regardless while the people loose. I would wager that he, like others before him, would instead double down and claim that the only failing of these programs post another attack is that they didn’t go far enough in their efforts.

william (profile) says:

“On the anti-terrorist side, he proudly states that the city has not been attacked by terrorists since the 9/11 tragedy.”

Homer: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm.
Lisa: That’s spacious reasoning, Dad.
Homer: Thank you, dear.
Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Oh, how does it work?
Lisa: It doesn’t work.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: It’s just a stupid rock.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: But I don’t see any tigers around, do you?
[Homer thinks of this, then pulls out some money]
Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.

Thebes says:

Not only was Craft International, a private, Blackwater-like “security contractor” at the very location of the bombing five minutes beforehand- but…
Now suspect #2 never had a gun, despite the alleged gunfight at the boat.
Now the suspects’ uncle turns out to have CIA affiliations.
Now there is video showing suspect #2 with his backpack on after the bombing.

AND- they want to “take privacy off the table”, essentially institute martial law when they please, and have a backdoor to everyone’s internet communications?

SOMETHING is VERY wrong in this country.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:

How to lie with statistics

He’s also been queried about the notorious “stop and frisk” program, something that largely targets young minorities (87% of all stops are non-white) while failing to produce much in terms of results (only 1 in 10 stops result in a summons or arrest; weapons are only discovered in 0.2% of the stops).

“Only” 1 in 10 stops resulting in a summons or arrest? That actually doesn’t sound all that bad to me. The ratio of people who are criminals and have done something serious worthy of arrest to people in the country is far lower than 1:10, so if they’re making 1:10, they’re really beating the odds. And when you consider that the program is still fairly new, they’re beating the odds on their first attempt!

Sounds like a successful system to me, to be perfectly honest. Let them refine their methods a little based on data and feedback, and you’ll see that 1:10 ratio improve soon enough.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: How to lie with statistics

“Only” 1 in 10 stops resulting in a summons or arrest? That actually doesn’t sound all that bad to me.

“The New York City stop-and-frisk program is a practice of the New York City Police Department by which a police officer who reasonably suspects a person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a felony or a penal law misdemeanor, stops and questions that person, and, if the officer reasonably suspects he or she is in danger of physical injury, frisks the person stopped for weapons.”

I think they need to work on their reasonable suspicion if they’re wrong 90% of the time.

aaheart (profile) says:

Off the table...our rights are not yours to take away

Well, Chief, that means that eventually YOU are off the table because YOU are an AGENT and WE are the PRINCIPALS. You don’t have the option to do anything but restrain your actions within the limitations of the Constitution of the united States of America. You took an oath of office that included adherence to those limitations. You are only allowed to function as our Agent if you can stay within the parameters we set for YOU. The Bill of Rights were not privileges granted to WE the People. They were limits on what you the Agents are permitted to do. So you’ve already announced that you plan to violate your oath…so that means you are serving illegitimately and taking up valuable space.

Kratoklastes (profile) says:

Privacy is "off the table: - excellent news!

So when these tax-fed “big end of town” welfare queens have their shit hacked and their entire putrid squalid degenerate parasitic lives posted to pastebin, nobody can whine about it … amirite?

What’s that, tax-eating scumbag Kelly? One law for us peons, another for the ‘public servants’ who suck at the tax tit?

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