Jumaane Williams Only Speaker Candidate to Knock Bill Bratton

Mayor-Elect Bill De Blasio Announces William Bratton As City's Next Police Chief

Bill Bratton and Bill de Blasio yesterday. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty)

The candidates vying for City Council speaker mostly hailed Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s choice of Bill Bratton to lead the police department, though one was willing to openly criticize the pick.

In a lengthy statement yesterday, Councilman Jumaane Williams took issue with Mr. Bratton’s “mixed” record when he held the same job under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whose police force was repeatedly accused of crossing the line in its efforts to drive down crime.

“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,” he said.

Still, Mr. Williams’s statement was positive overall and described his feelings about Mr. Bratton as “cautiously optimistic.”

“The primary difference now I believe is who the Mayor-Elect is and what lessons Commissioner-Designate Bratton learned in New York and other cities,” he said.

In contrast, Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito, a close ally of Mr. de Blasio’s and a top contender for the second-most powerful post in the city, gushed about the Bratton pick.

“Bill Bratton is a progressive, fair and innovative crime fighter,” Ms. Mark-Viverito said her own statement. “I have every confidence he will carry out the mission he has been given by Mayor-Elect de Blasio and end the overuse of stop and frisk while maintaining the high level of protection New Yorkers rely on from the heroic officers of the NYPD.”

(In a second statement sent to Politicker by Ms. Mark Viverito’s Council office, she was notably more restrained: “Congratulations to Bill Bratton on being selected by Mayor-elect de Blasio to be his Police Commissioner. I have every expectation that the incoming Police Commissioner understands and will implement Mayor-elect de Blasio’s vision for ending the overuse of stop and frisk, work to repair relations between the police and the community, while also maintaining the high level of protection New Yorkers rely on from the heroic officers of the NYPD.”)

Other candidates extolled the choice on social media. “@BilldeBlasio made good choice of Bill Bratton for NYPD. He brings the right experience; will balance strong policing w constitutional rts,” Councilman Dan Garodnick wrote on Twitter.

Councilman Jimmy Vacca was even more effusive, praising Mr. Bratton on Facebook and recalling his personal interactions with the next top cop. “I worked with Bill Bratton when I was District Manager of my Community Board, and I was always very impressed with how well he interacted with the public,” Mr. Vacca wrote.

Meanwhile, Mark Weprin declined to comment on the Bratton pick, despite having praised Mr. de Blasio’s first deputy announcement earlier this week. Mr. Weprin is frequently cited as a leading contender for the speaker’s gig, along with Mr. Gardodnick and Ms. Mark-Viverito.

Two other, more press-shy speaker hopefuls–Councilwomen Annabel Palma and Inez Dickens–did not return requests for comment.

All of the candidates–there are seven in total–are hoping for the blessing of Mr. de Blasio, who holds unique leverage as the first Democratic mayor in two decades. The 51 members of the council will select their next speaker in January.

Jumaane Williams Only Speaker Candidate to Knock Bill Bratton