Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, facing down a handful of protesters who interrupted his City Council testimony this morning, said he was actually entertained.
Mr. Bratton was all smiles after a preliminary budget hearing at City Hall, where protesters repeatedly denounced Mr. Bratton’s approach to policing and the City Council’s call for 1,000 new cops.
“It was actually entertaining. It was a little disruptive,” Mr. Bratton told reporters. During the Council hearing, he had quoted the entertainer Jimmy Durante, telling council members that “everybody is trying to get in on the act.”
Asked about the opposition to the NYPD and the Council’s desire to boost the police headcount, Mr. Bratton was dismissive. “I think you’re gonna see that’s a very small number of people that don’t want more police in New York City. Fortunately, nobody is paying much attention to them.”
“There is a need for more officers. We’re in discussion with the mayor’s office, the mayor’s office will be in discussion with the City Council as to what the city budget will be able to afford, that’s the purpose of discussion,” he added, not specifying whether he’d support the Council’s demand for exactly 1,000 new officers on top of the 34,000 in the department. (Mayor Bill de Blasio did not include money for more police in his preliminary budget.)
The protesters, belonging to several groups long opposed to Mr. Bratton, accused his department of “genocide” and attacked his support of “Broken Windows” policing, a tactic that emphasizes the prosecution of small, quality-of-life crimes. After interrupting Mr. Bratton five times, they were all forced from the chamber when the sergeant-at-arms threw out all members of the public to prevent further disruptions.