Councilman Charles Barron and his wife, Councilwoman-elect Inez Barron, are vowing a “grass-roots movement” to oust Bill Bratton, Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s recently announced pick for police commissioner.
Mr. Barron, an outspoken politician known for throwing rhetorical bombs at the establishment–including Mr. de Blasio, whom he considers a fake progressive–said Mr. Bratton is responsible for many of the very problems the next police commissioner should actually be trying to solve.
“It’s like asking an arsonist to help you put out fires. You don’t ask the person who is the architect of racial profiling, stop-and-frisk to come back and not put a stop to it,” Mr. Barron declared, speaking at a hastily called press conference at City Hall today.
“This is the ‘progressive mayor’ Bill de Blasio. It is an insult. We’re going to launch a campaign in our community to fight against this,” he continued.
Standing with Ms. Barron, the successor to his East New York-based Council seat, Mr. Barron was particularly disdainful of Mr. Bratton’s background as a former police commissioner in the Giuliani administration.
“For two years under Giuliani, he failed,” Mr. Barron said of Mr. Bratton, who would later serve as Los Angeles’s police chief. “When you go to Los Angeles and talk about the successful work he’s done around gang violence, there’s a lot of black and Latino people in Los Angeles that feel that a lot of the stop-and-frisks that happened out there, the police brutality that happened out there, it’s an insult to bring Bratton back.”
“I thought we were progressing forward, but we are going backwards with Bratton,” he added.
Mr. Barron then slammed Mr. Bratton for a controversial incident under his tenure when the police commissioner called a parent and allies of a teen slain by police detectives a “bunch of fools” for raising the issue at a town hall meeting.
“We have police brutality under Bratton and Giuliani. We had an excessive use of deadly force under Bratton and Giuliani and they were the architect of the racial profiling stop-and-frisk,” Mr. Barron charged.
No less tempered, Ms. Barron said that many political elites at first accepted Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s choice for Department of Education chancellor, Cathie Black, before she later resigned amid controversy. She implied that the same could happen to Mr. Bratton.
“This is an issue where we’re not waiting for people who have titles or positions to show us. We’re going to the grass-roots, we’re going to the people that this affects, the people in the community,” she said. “I would say to you, that much of that same leadership accepted Cathie Black … and that was an issue that we as a grass-roots movement fought against consistently.”
Fellow Brooklyn Councilman Jumaane Williams, an outspoken opponent of stop-and-frisk, offered measured praise for Mr. Bratton in a statement but did not hail him like many of his fellow Democrats.
“I congratulate Commissioner-Designate William Bratton on his reappointment as Police Commissioner. I also keep in mind that there was no perfect candidate, and I am cautiously optimistic,” he said in a statement. “By many accounts, Commissioner-Designate Bratton had a mixed tenure during his previous role as Commissioner. While violent crime dropped, many communities of more color felt that Commissioner-Designate Bratton was not responsive to their needs.”