On Tuesday, President Obama said in a Univision affiliate interview that he finds New York’s police commissioner Ray Kelly to be “well qualified” for the soon-to-be vacated position of Homeland Security chief currently held by Janet Napolitano.
“Ray Kelly’s obviously done an extraordinary job in New York,” said the president, praising Kelly for his competence in dealing with terrorism. But under Kelly’s most recent tenure as police commissioner there have been 5 million stop-and-frisks. Kelly also presided over the Police Department when it spied on Muslim communities.
New York Congressman Hakeem Jeffries blasted Kelly for overseeing these practices on Wednesday’s All In with Chris Hayes:
“Ray Kelly is an experienced law enforcement professional and has been a good administrator. And perhaps I could even support his potential appointment to this position in the absence of the massive stop-and-frisk program that he’s run and the unconstitutional Muslim surveillance program. But that’s kind of like saying ‘I had a good year if you don’t count the winter, the spring and the fall.’”
In considering Kelly to head up the Department of Homeland Security, is it okay to ignore parts of his record? Jeffries thinks not: “We can’t divorce his tenure as police commissioner, without looking at the fact that he has presided over the most significant organized form of racial profiling that exists in the country.”
While Jeffries credited the commissioner with reducing crime in the city, he remained incensed by Kelly’s defense of the controversial stop-and-frisk program: “Stop-and-frisk of course has nothing to do with the fact that crime is down in New York City.” He said, “There is a 90% error rate in the stop-and-frisk program. No corporation in America would tolerate such an error rate!”