Brown praises de Blasio on Bratton appointment

Brown praises de Blasio on Bratton appointment
AP Photo/Seth Wenig
By Rich Bockmann

The borough’s top prosecutor last week praised Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s appointment of a police commissioner, saying he had a successful history working with Bill Bratton.

“He is a consummate law enforcement professional with whom we worked closely — and successfully — in the past and will, I am sure, in the future,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. “He is a tough crime fighter who has the ability to bring law enforcement and communities together as partners in the critically important work of keeping our city and all of its neighborhoods safe.”

De Blasio made one of his most closely watched appointments last week when he named Bratton as his administration’s new police commissioner.

The soon-to-be mayor made criticism of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices one of the cornerstones of his campaign, and Bratton will be tasked with maintaining record-low crime levels while reducing the department’s reliance on the controversial policy.

“Bill Bratton is a proven crime fighter. He knows what it takes to keep a city safe and make communities full partners in the mission,” de Blasio said in a statement. “Together, we are going to preserve and deepen the historic gains we’ve made in public safety — gains Bill Bratton helped make possible.

“And we will do it by rejecting the false choice between keeping New Yorkers safe and protecting their civil rights,” he added. “This is an administration that will do both.”

Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani originally appointed Bratton to head his police department in 1994, and the commissioner was credited with reducing felony crime by 39 percent. Bratton served only two years and was later appointed as the top cop in Los Angeles, where he expanded the use of stop-and-frisk.

“Mayor-elect de Blasio’s priorities are my priorities. This is the best police force in the nation, and we are going to ensure our men and women have the best technology, the most innovative tactics and the strong support of the communities they protect,” Bratton said in a statement. “This department will not rest on its laurels. We are going to continue making history as the safest big city in America.”

The group that successfully tried the federal case that ruled stop-and-frisk unconstitutional said that given de Blasio’s commitment to seeing its reforms carried out, it expected Bratton to cooperate with the reforms.

“Bratton previously addressed unconstitutional racial discrimination in the Los Angeles Police Department, working with a court-appointed monitor to implement change,” the Center for Constitutional Rights said. “At the same time, we hope Bratton’s appointment is not a signal from de Blasio that the NYPD will be ramping up so-called ‘broken windows’ policing, surveillance and numbers-driven policing.”

“Mr. Bratton has implemented reform before under a court-ordered process, and we are hopeful he will work with community representatives and civil liberties groups to do the same with the NYPD,” the center added.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574