NY Police Chief Kelly Taking $1.5 Million Worth Of Publicly-Funded Bodyguards With Him When He Retires

from the famous-bulletproof-golden-parachute dept

New York City Police Chief Ray Kelly has spent years defending the harassment of minorities via the PD’s stop-and-frisk program. Kelly (and Mayor Bloomberg) have constantly pointed to the decline in violent crime stats as evidence the program works (and as justification for its unconstitutional aspects).

But the city must not be safe enough. Ray Kelly’s retiring, but he won’t be doing it unaccompanied. According to police sources, Kelly will be taking a small battalion of personal bodyguards with him wherever he goes, post-employment.

The NYPD’s Intelligence Division — with Kelly’s input — is recommending that Kelly take with him a 10-officer complement of taxpayer-funded bodyguards, up from the six-officer detail the commissioner had wanted last month.

The detail will now include a lieutenant, three sergeants and six detectives to chauffeur and protect Kelly and his family around-the-clock in the Big Apple and even out of town after he ends his 12-year run atop Police Headquarters — at an estimated cost of more than $1.5 million a year, sources estimate.

This does seem excessive, especially considering Kelly will be retiring far from the mean streets, not heading to prison. In fact, he doesn’t personally put people behind bars, so it’s not as though he’d be much more than a symbolic target in the big house.

On the other hand, spending a decade deploying (and championing) a questionable program that gives NYPD officers the right to stop anyone (almost exclusively minorities) for any reason didn’t exactly make Kelly a whole lot of friends. If an investigator was to ask whether anyone had a motive for doing something horrible thing to ex-Chief Kelly, the list of suspects would probably rival the New York City phone book.

But that’s also an abstraction. The streets won’t be less safe once Kelly steps down. They’ll be roughly the same as they are now. Unless Kelly’s already traveling with an armed entourage, there’s really no reason he’d be less safe once retired. If anything, no longer being the figurehead of the NYPD should make him safer.

Supposedly, the Intelligence Division has some solid reasoning backing up this decision. According to information dug up by Matt Sledge at HuffPo, Ray Kelly has every reason to fear for his life.

[T]his May 17 declaration from Deputy Commissioner David Cohen in one of the NYPD surveillance lawsuits may provide some insight on the perceived threats to Kelly’s safety.

After the officers who shot Sean Bell were acquitted, Cohen wrote, surveillance was ramped up citywide “in response to the possibility of unlawful activity and allowed for informed decision-making on the likelihood of violence or other unlawful activity, as well as resource deployment decisions.”

“The shooting and subsequent trial sparked demonstrations across New York City and widespread threats of violence against members of the NYPD, including Police Commissioner Kelly, who was the target of a murder plot motivated by the Sean Bell matter,” Cohen wrote.

Frightening, except for the fact that Kelly’s stalking death threat came in the form of a person not much suited for stalking/death-dealing. (Nor was he in the position to front the $65,000 needed to send a more able-bodied person to do the job.)

Sounds pretty serious. Until you learn who was behind the 2007 “plot”: a 400-pound, imprisoned, impoverished wheelchair-bound “mentally ill” man with a rap sheet the length of your arm.

As it stands now, Kelly will leave office with more bodyguards than any previous police chief since Howard Safir’s retirement in 2000. Safir took 12 bodyguards with him, citing “vague threats.” (Presumably, the same “vague threats” law enforcement and security agencies have used to weaken policies and expand power over the past decade-plus…) Not only that, but he’ll be one of the few allowing the city to pick up the tab for post-career protective services.

True, this $1.5 million will be a drop in the bucket considering the size of NYC’s budget, but considering the fact that Ray Kelly seems intent on making himself the sort of example other police chiefs shouldn’t follow post-retirement, this should probably be opposed on sheer principle. Or, at the very least, his request should be trimmed down to a more reasonable number of bodyguards.

If Kelly’s made an enemy of the people, there’s really no one else he can point the finger at. If this means he’ll be living in fear for the rest of his retirement, maybe he’ll develop a bit of empathy for the thousands of minority citizens who have been harassed repeatedly over the last decade under the color of law.

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Comments on “NY Police Chief Kelly Taking $1.5 Million Worth Of Publicly-Funded Bodyguards With Him When He Retires”

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31 Comments
Just Sayin' says:

More disrepect exemplified

This is another great example of how the American people have come to not only no longer respect or care about the law, but that they are bordering on the sort of lawlessness that exists in places like Mexico.

This guy has every reason to be scared, the gangs, the criminal organizations, and I am sure just a few random people would love to off him, either as revenge for whatever happened to them, or just as a trophy kill to make their bones in some organization.

The issue isn’t the police, the issue is that too many people think they are above the law. It seems to be a very common thread around here.

The Real Michael says:

“True, this $1.5 million will be a drop in the bucket considering the size of NYC’s budget…”

Not when you consider that this is all being spent on one person’s self-protection, which I might add he wants to deny to the public. He should fund his own protection, not charge the taxpayers he’s spent a career making enemies out of by violating their Constitutional rights.

That One Guy (profile) says:

To be fair, if I’d spent years doing everything I could to make an entire city(one already known for being dangerous) hate my guts, I’d probably be a little concerned for my safety as well, so having bodyguards would make sense in that case.

Now making the taxpayers(otherwise known as the same people who hate his guts, due to his actions) foot the bill for the bodyguards though… that’s just adding insult to injury.

He’s got money, if he’s that worried for his safety he should either move out of city/state, or foot the bill for his protection himself.

Erik Grant says:

If Kelly’s made an enemy of the people, there’s really no one else he can point the finger at.

Come on now, I think you can cut the chief of police of one of the biggest cities in the world a little bit of slack on this one. You don’t like his program, and you think his cops acts like thugs, and that’s a reasonable perspective. But let’s be serious, the kind of people that would be targeting him are serious members of organized crime or psychopaths, neither of which are likely to be overly bothered by “stop and frisk”.

You can think he is costing too much money, you can think he is an asshole, but let’s at least acknowledge the reality that there are 10,000 legitimate reasons for serious, hardcore criminals to want to kill cops, even retired ones.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Funny thing is, by constantly defending corrupt cops whenever they are mentioned, you are showing far more hatred towards the profession than Tim could ever hope to.

Bringing to light, and focusing on the corrupt cops is the first step towards dealing with them, removing them from the positions they are abusing, and eventually regaining the trust of the populous by showing that bad cops will be held accountable, and are not representative of the entire force.

In contrast, by constantly attacking anyone who discusses corrupt police, you are saying loud and clear that you don’t want their activities known, that you want the actions of corrupt officers just ‘brushed under the rug’ and never talked about, something that will lead people to assume(as they do now) that none of the police are trustworthy, because all of them will defend their corrupt co-workers.

You say Tim ‘hates cops’, but it’s you who is showing such contempt for the profession by your actions and words, actions that guarantee they will continue to be seen as nothing more than thugs with badges, if not worse.

R. Fresquez (profile) says:

NY Police Chief

There is no way this should be allowed, and I consider this tax theft. If council members don’t put a stop to it, then the voters should remove them to. I can honestly say, there are many more bad cops than good ones. And today’s cops are the most cowardly, at least in the old days they would just bear up a person, usually by themselves, today, they team up on homeless people and beat them till there dead.

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