Bombarded by questions about the controversies (yes, plural) developing around Ray Kelly, Mayor Mike Bloomberg told reporters this afternoon that the police commissioner should not step down.
In case you missed it, news surfaced this week that the New York Police Department showed around 1,500 officers an anti-Islam film called The Third Jihad at an anti-terror training center. A whole lot of backpedalling and misinformation in the media seems to have made the situation much worse for the commissioner (The NYPD’s top spokespeman , Paul Browne, had at one point denied that the video was being shown).
Kelly, who is interviewed in the film, had said that the footage was lifted from elsewhere (it turns out that the police commissioner actually sat down with the filmakers for a 90-minute interview).
If that wasn’t enough bad news for Kelly this week, his son, Fox 5’s Greg Kelly, was accused Tuesday night of raping a woman back in October. Sources are telling DNAinfo that the accuser is claiming she became pregnant after the alleged rape.
Fast forward to a Bloomberg press conference in Long Island City this afternoon on Gossip Girl (what else?), where the mayor had to answer a string of questions about Kelly and the NYPD.
“Commissioner Kelly should not step down. I think it’s fair to say that it was a little bit of an embarrassment that this film was made. His part in it was he was interviewed a long time ago,” he said in response to the first off-topic question on the topic of Kelly.
“I’ve known Ray Kelly for a long time. One of the things he takes…enormous pride in, is the outreach to all communities, the openness of the police department to members of every faith, every ethnicity, every orientation, to work in the greatest police department in the world.”
“Ray said yesterday he regrets that this film was…shown in the official police location. He thought it was inappropriate. He took steps as soon as he found out about it to stop it. And he apologized to anybody who felt that they were insulted or whatever the word would be,” the mayor said.
“I don’t think people in this city think that the police department is anything but what it should be. This is the greatest police department. It is open to everybody and I have 100 percent confidence in Ray Kelly,” he said. (Some might beg to differ).
Reporters continued to question Bloomberg on the topic, asking him what the department should do to follow up and why there was so misinformation about the film.
“Ray’s got to work at establishing or reestablishing or reinforcing the credibility that he does have. Ray Kelly probably visits more mosques than an awful lot of people who believe in the faith that’s practiced there. He has reached out to this community,” he said.
Bloomberg also defended the confusion around Kelly’s involvement in the interview.
“The interview that he did was taken so long ago..Nobody even remembered it. They probably didn’t pay any attention to it…And I’ll take their word for it. As we all know, Paul Browne is as honest and as competent as anybody in the business of representing the city and giving out information. I’m sure he acted in good faith and I regret that we didn’t have the whole story right away. I keep saying to everybody, ‘Get the whole story out right away’ and that’s the way to keep it from going on and on and on and to give the public the information they need. That wasn’t done as well as we could’ve done it and next time we’ll do it a little bit better,” he said.
Bloomberg seemed frustrated when a reporter later further asked about the contradictions coming from the police.
“I just said — I don’t know how many times you want me to say it. We should get out all information right away, as accurately as we can possibly do and hopefully we are accurate. If we’re not, then we should fess up and say here’s the new information,” he responded.
Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez earlier today called for an investigation into the film and Councilman Jumaane Williams called yesterday for Browne to be removed.
Near the end of the press conference this afternoon, Bloomberg also responded to the rape allegations for Kelly’s son — which are being investigated by the Manhattan District Attorney’s office.
“In this case, I thought the police department did exactly what it should do. They right away turned over the investigation to the district attorney, because you don’t want the appearance of a conflict of interest, which obviously you would have when it’s the son of the commissioner,” he said.
“Keep in mind, everyone has a right to have their complaints investigated and I also point out as far as I know,
Ray Greg Kelly’s not been charged with anything, so I don’t know how that’s going to turn out, but I think any questions you have are going to be have to addressed to the District Attorney. They should not be addressed to the police department, and they probably shouldn’t be addressed to the mayor.”
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