Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a retired police captain, ripped into former NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly for his claims that the department is using misleading crime statistics under current Commissioner Bill Bratton—making Mr. Adams the latest figure to jump into the increasingly bitter battle between the law enforcement leaders.
Mr. Adams, a former state senator and founder of the group 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, accused Mr. Kelly of “bloviating” and of having a history of making baseless claims. Mr. Kelly, first in a radio interview and then on social media, claimed recently that the de Blasio administration had created the appearance of a reduction in shootings by changing how it defined the crime.
“It is patently offensive for Ray Kelly to suggest that the NYPD is in any way involved with falsifying crime statistics,” Mr. Adams said in a statement. “The fact that there is no proof to this spurious charge is fitting with his history of lobbing rhetorical bombs behind the shade of tabloid covers while falling silent under the scrutiny of truth.”
In particular, the borough president hit Mr. Kelly—who served as top cop under former Mayor David Dinkins and again under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg—for declining to testify during the Floyd v. City of New York trial. The Floyd case led to a federal judge declaring the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy unconstitutional as practiced under Mr. Kelly.
“The evidence shows that when Ray Kelly had the chance to back up his media bloviating, he didn’t take it,” Mr. Adams said. “Ray Kelly is trying to sell a narrative full of the same falsehoods he has peddled for more than a decade, regardless of whether it is for economic, ego-driven, or political purposes. Whatever the reason, New Yorkers have no reason to buy what he is selling.”
Mr. Adams served on the NYPD from 1984 until 2006, placing him under Mr. Kelly’s command both during both the Dinkins and Bloomberg administrations. During the Floyd case, he testified that the commissioner had confessed to him that the policy targeted minority males and claimed Mr. Kelly “wanted to instill fear” among blacks and Hispanics.
The Brooklyn borough president emerged as a key ally to Mr. de Blasio during the his disputes with police unions last year over reform efforts and the death of black Staten Islander Eric Garner at the hands of a white officer.
The borough president’s language today echoes comments from Mr. Bratton yesterday, in which the current commissioner challenged his predecessor to “be a big man” and back up his claims, and accused Mr. Kelly of trying to spur sales of his memoir. In response, Mr. Kelly posted a statement on Facebook in which he alleged NYPD officials had told him the department had stopped classifying graze wounds and injuries incurred as a result of flying debris at the site of gun battles as shootings.
He also alleged the police would were labeling shootings where a victim refused to cooperate as self-inflicted wounds.
“It reveals an administration willing to distort the reality of what they face on the street,” wrote Mr. Kelly, who considered a run for mayor as a Republican in 2013 and is rumored to be weighing a challenge to Mr. de Blasio in 2017 on the GOP line.
The NYPD told the Observer it was still logging graze wounds as shootings, and that injuries not directly sustained from bullets have never fallen under that classification, even during Mr. Kelly’s tenure. It also denied the claim that it was categorizing gunshot injuries from noncompliant victims as self-inflicted.
“The statements made by Raymond Kelly are unsupported by fact and the conclusions drawn are misleading to the public,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “Nothing in the manual has changed although shootings are down to near record lows this year.”
In an interview with the Observer earlier today, Bronx Councilman Ritchie Torres called for an independent investigation of Mr. Kelly’s claims.
A spokesperson for Mr. Kelly did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Mr. Adams’ remarks.
Updated to include comment from the NYPD.