New York City’s police commissioner slammed Ted Cruz Saturday for suggesting police step up patrols of “Muslim neighborhoods” after the terror attacks in Brussels, and accused the Republican presidential hopeful of exploiting the tragedy.
“We already patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods, the same way we patrol and secure other neighborhoods,” Commissioner William Bratton wrote in an op-ed in the New York Daily News. “But no, we do not single out any populace, black, white, yellow or brown for selective enforcement.”
“We do not ‘patrol and secure’ neighborhoods based on selective enforcement because of race or religion, nor will we use the police and an occupying force to intimidate a populace or a religion to appease the provocative chatter of politicians seeking to exploit fear,” Bratton continued.
Bratton, along with President Barack Obama, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and the Council on American-Islamic Relations all condemned Cruz’ proposal shortly after he made it Tuesday.
Republican presidential candidate Ohio Gov. John Kasich also pushed back on the proposal, saying the effort would add “more polarization” and “create divisions” in the U.S. Donald Trump, in an interview on CNN on Tuesday night, said he supports Cruz’s plan “100 percent.”
“It is standard law enforcement — it is good law enforcement to focus on where threats are emanating from, and anywhere where there is a locust of radicalization, where there is an expending presence of radical Islamic terrorism,” Cruz expanded to reporters on Tuesday evening in Manhattan.
Bratton said that “it is clear from his comments that Sen. Cruz knows absolutely nothing about counterterrorism in New York City.”
“We have in this city, without a doubt, the most effective and extensive counterterrorism capacity of any city in this country and virtually any city in the world,” Bratton said.
Twenty terror plots have been foiled by the NYPD since the 9/11 attacks, according to the department.
“We police our city not by campaign slogans or inflammatory rhetoric, but by an old piece of parchment called the U.S. Constitution and another called the Bill of Rights,” Bratton wrote. “Ted Cruz and others seem to be willing to sideline these principles because what they stand for shifts with the tide of the campaign and the shrillness of the name-calling.”
The Cruz campaign responded Saturday:
“Ted Cruz will never allow political correctness to drive decisions about our security. Innocent, peaceful Americans, no matter their faith, deserve to live in safe neighborhoods; that is what law enforcement exists to do, and that includes preventing radical Islamic terror cells from taking root in them. The police should have every tool available to follow leads and take action against those who would do us harm. That is what Cruz is calling for and it is the basic responsibility of our elected leaders — to prioritize the safety of our citizens.”
This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com.