Bill de Blasio Mayor: NYC Mayor-elect Selects Stop-and-Frisk Innovator William Bratton as Police Commissioner; Latino Candidates Snubbed?
New York City Democratic Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio recently appointed stop-and-frisk innovator William Bratton to the position of police commissioner, which, according to The National Latino Officers Association and a number of other groups, was yet another missed opportunity to advocate for a qualified Latino, such as First Deputy Commissioner Rafeal Pineiro, to take on the esteemed role.
The New York Police Department's Hispanic Society only represent a small fraction of individuals who are disappointed by Bratton's appointment. While Bratton oversaw an impressive drop in crime during his previous stints as police commissioner in New York during the '90s, and LA during the early 2000s, he also innovated the hostile, and often racially-motivated, stop-and-frisk policy under Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, leading to the arrests of hundreds of thousands of black and Latino men and women for petty crimes, such as minor marijuana charges. The unconstitutional targeting of minorities has been criticized by many, including Bratton, who said that Commissioner Raymond Kelly's tactic was too "hard-nosed," and compared stop-and-frisk to chemotherapy, saying that it was an "intrusive power, but applied in the right way, it can have the effect of reducing crime." Nonetheless, many question if Bratton is right for the job, seeing as he strategized the policy.
"I have not heard him make a definitive statement that the way stop-and-frisk was carried out in New York City over the last 10 years was ineffective," said Delores Jones-Brown, a former prosecutor and the director of the John Jay College Center on Race, Crime and Justice. "It's wrong, ethically and morally. I don't need to hear him waver."
Pineiro, a highly-proven Latino candidate who could have easily taken on the role as commissioner, is a 40-year veteran of the NYC police department. He graduated at the top of his class from the police academy, and received the Chief of Personnel's Award for the highest marks in academic and physical fitness scores. He also helped to diversify the force, encouraging the growth of Latino officers, who now represent 25% of the department. If Pineiro had been selected as commissioner, it would have made him the first Latino NYPD Commissioner.
"It was a missed opportunity for de Blasio to break new ground. Being considered but not chosen is the new form of discrimination against Hispanics," said Anthony Miranda, the executive chairman of NALO. "He wasn't our first choice, but he is going to be the Police Commissioner for at least the next four years. The message from de Blasio and Bratton is that they're going to be bringing in a new era of inclusion and diversity. We're going to make sure it's not just lip service."