A coalition of Brooklyn elected officials and clergy yesterday released a scathing letter to the community demanding that the Police Department take action based on the revelations in the Village Voice’s series, “The NYPD Tapes.”
The group is seeking the immediate reassignment of Bedford-Stuyvesant’s 81st Precinct commander, Deputy Inspector Steven Mauriello, a face-to-face meeting with Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, reprimands of two chiefs based in Brooklyn North, Gerald Nelson and Michael Marino, and more input into the selection of any future precinct commanders. A community forum is also planned for the near future.
“The pressure from One Police Plaza must be overwhelming for a precinct commander to stoop to such inappropriate, disrespectful and perhaps even illegal behavior in order to appease his superior officers,” the letter says. “However, there is no excuse for a precinct commander to knowingly instruct his officers to harass, intimidate and arrest innocent residents of our community.”
“There should not even be a question of whether Deputy Inspector Mauriello should be removed,” the letter continues. “The question is why hasn’t he already been removed.”
“Under no circumstances can the community allow a precinct commander to remain in place when he has demonstrated such disrespect and utter disregard for our civil rights,” the letter adds.
The letter emerged from a meeting held last week at a Bedford-Stuyvesant church, which was attended by a range of influential leaders in the community, including Councilmembers Al Vann, Darlene Mealy, Letitia James. Representatives of the offices of Congressman Ed Towns and state Sen. Velmanette Montgomery were also present.
In addition, several prominent church pastors were there, including Rev. Robert Waterman of the Antioch Baptist Church, Rev. Rev. Conrad Tillard of Nazarene Congregational Church and Rev. Jesse Sumbry of King Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church, among others.
The letter criticizes Police Commissioner Kelly for not supplying a “timely or satisfactory” response to a previous missive on the subject.
Effective policing, the letter says, requires cooperation from the community. But Mauriello, the letter says, has “betrayed that trust, and created an environment that is antithetical to police community relations.” Kelly needs to act quickly to repair the damage, the letter concludes.