NYPD Police Chief Who Clashed With Trump To Step Down
Bill Bratton said the self-described “law and order” GOP nominee is making officers’ jobs harder. Now he’s stepping down in September.
There’s one man sure to be happy that New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is resigning: Donald Trump.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that the city’s top cop will step down in September after a 45-year career as a police commander that also included stops in Los Angeles and Boston. Of late, that career that has been marked by a steady escalation in Bratton’s public opposition to the GOP nominee.
The New York police head has condemned Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigration and rejected a request from the mogul to address New York police officer in the wake of the deadly Dallas shootings last month. The moves have complicated Trump’s concerted effort to brand himself the “law and order” candidate.
“Our interest is in staying out of the politics of the moment, not to provide photo-ops,” Bratton said during a July 8 news conference, explaining his decision to not allow Trump to address a roll call of his officers.
Trump’s campaign denied making such a request.
Following the June massacre at a gay club in Orlando, Florida, the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil since 9/11, Trump repeated his calls for a ban on Muslims or those hailing from terrorism-torn countries entering the U.S. Trump seemed to either not know or not care that the shooter was born in New York to Afghan parents and had no known ties to terror groups like the Islamic State.
Trump, for his part, criticized de Blasio and Bratton for disbanding a controversial NYPD program that carried out mass surveillance of the Muslim community, including placing informants in mosques.
“We need justice, we need vigilance, we need great intelligence gathering systems, which we don’t have,” Trump told “CBS This Morning” on June 13, the day after the attack. “We had them in New York City … the new mayor just broke it all up and disbanded it, he thought it was inappropriate … that was unbelievable.”
Bratton shot back that Trump was making that precise policing and counterterrorism work harder.
He and de Blasio dissolved the unit, which was formed under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Commissioner Ray Kelly, in 2014. A civil rights lawsuit over the program was recently settled, but controversy remains about unfair targeting of the Muslim community in the name of counterterrorism.
“It works against the ability of police in this country to develop relationships with the communities,” Bratton said on June 13, responding to Trump’s comments. “The idea of somehow singling out a community for penalties that don’t apply to other communities, or seem to single them out, I think is unnecessary, it is unfortunate, and it works against our ability to work with those communities.”
Later on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Bratton pointed out that the 36,000-strong NYPD has about 1,000 Muslim officers, many of them combat veterans. Trump’s anti-Muslim comments are “ironic,” the police chief said on June 14, given several of these officers have been assigned to the candidate’s security detail outside his Trump Tower headquarters in Manhattan.
To be fair, it’s not just Trump. Bratton had blunt advice to presidential runner-up Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s suggestion that police patrol Muslim neighborhoods in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Brussels in March: “Shut up.”
A few weeks ago at the Republican convention in Cleveland, Ohio, Trump trotted out former presidential candidate and New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whom Bratton served as police commissioner in the mid-1990s, to bolster his “law and order” case.
“Who would trust Hillary Clinton to protect them?” Giuliani riled up the crowd against the Democratic nominee in an off-script, lengthy speech. “I wouldn’t. Would you?”
But Trump has found himself in hot water again this week with comments disparaging the parents of a Muslim Army captain killed in Iraq in 2004. And on Tuesday afternoon, just as de Blasio announced Bratton’s resignation, the GOP nominee appeared to continue belittling military service.
The candidate widely believed to have repeatedly dodged the Vietnam draft said that a veteran gave him a Purple Heart medal, the military’s oldest honor for being wounded or killed in combat. The mogul said he’s “always wanted” one, adding, “this was much easier” than earning it himself.
Photo credit: Spencer Platt / Staff