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.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.
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.
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.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.)
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.
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.