Awkward Allies

Green Sidesteps Bratton's Misconduct Record, Garners Supercop's Support

  • In Bratton's 313-page memoir, Turnaround, published by Random House in 1998, he devoted a mere four paragraphs to the issue of "police brutality," which he referred to as a "pocket of concern." He said that "a lot" of the allegations were reported "by people engaged in illegal behavior and looking for a bargaining chit."

    Bratton wrote: "Was there lack of respect by some police officers toward the public? Yes. Was there abuse? Yes. Was there more than in previous years or administrations? I don't believe so. The rise in complaints was commensurate with the rise in contact."

  • As ugly as Safir's handling of the Diallo case was, Bratton's role in another of the headlined cop-killings of the Giuliani era, the December 1994 choking death of Anthony Baez, was worse. Frank Livoti, the cop eventually convicted of killing Baez after the 29-year-old accidentally hit his squad car with a football, had a track record of nine prior brutality charges, some involving earlier improper choke holds. The federal judge on the Livoti case condemned the NYPD for "letting him remain on the streets knowing a tragedy would occur." The judge said the department "should have known he was dangerous" and that "senior police officials rejected repeated demands to transfer him."

    It was Bratton's top aide, Chief of Department Lou Anemone, who refused the transfer requests, stating in writing that Livoti shouldn't be moved because of his delegate "status" with the police union. Anemone praised Livoti even after the Baez killing. As Mark Green put it in a March 1997 interview with WNBC's Gabe Pressman: "This is a quiet crisis that suddenly bursts out when you have a Livoti-Baez tragedy. The mayor ignored it for the longest time, trying to argue that people who criticize police brutality were criticizing all police, which is a lie."

  • The mayor wasn't ignoring it alone. As hard as Mark Green might try to duck the real history—in his reports and his campaign—Bill Bratton was right there with him.

    Research: Robbie Chaplick, Jesse Goldstein,
    Laurence Pantin, and Theodore Ross

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