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Some of you may take issue with Kelly's assumption that the privacy "offer" has been rescinded (or that it's truly his to rescind).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?"

Filed Under: boston, nypd, ray kelly

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  1. identicon
    Rob, 2 May 2013 @ 9:53am

    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.

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