Bratton Dodges Questions About ‘Broken Windows’ and Dante de Blasio

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. (Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. (Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

When it came to the mayor’s son and the “broken windows” theory, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton didn’t have much to say today.

The typically gregarious police chief declined to offer any extensive comment on Rev. Al Sharpton’s fiery charges at a round table hosted by Mayor Bill de Blasio this morning. Mr. Sharpton claimed that Dante de Blasio, who is half black, would have been the target of an NYPD chokehold if he weren’t the mayor’s son.

“The reverend is entitled to his opinions and his comments that he may have,” Mr. Bratton, speaking with reporters after what he called a “frank” round table, said.

When the Observer pressed Mr. Bratton about Mr. Sharpton’s criticisms of the “broken windows” theory–an approach to policing that focuses on the enforcement of small offenses to curb crime rates–and a rally outside City Hall blasting the tactic, Mr. Bratton also punted.

“Actually, I haven’t seen the group outside. Who is actually leading that demonstration?”

A reporter said it was Communities United For Police Reform, a police reform group that successfully pushed for the creation of an NYPD inspector general last year. Mr. Bratton mumbled inaudibly and left the reporters clustered in the City Hall lobby.

Mr. de Blasio gathered Mr. Bratton, Mr. Sharpton, clergy leaders and members of his staff for a round table on policing this morning. The round table was called two weeks after Eric Garner, a black 43-year-old from Staten Island, died in policy custody after he was placed in an apparent chokehold, a prohibited maneuver.

Mr. Sharpton disagreed with Mr. Bratton’s claim that race was a factor in Garner’s death. The police commissioner told reporters that money had already been budgeting to retrain police officers–Mr. Bratton, like the mayor, believes retrained police officers will help ease tension between police and minority communities.

Mr. Sharpton, however, was skeptical that more training would be a panacea.