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Rania Khalek: Despite running on an anti-‘stop and frisk’ platform, democratic mayoral candidate de Blasio linked to Bill Bratton who has backed ‘stop and frisk’

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JAISAL NOOR, TRNN PRODUCER: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Jaisal Noor in Baltimore.

New York City Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio has been hailed by progressives for promising to tackle issues like economic inequality between the city’s rich and poor, increased resources and services for public education, and for his opposition to the controversial police tactic stop-and-frisk, which critics say is ineffective and disproportionately targets people of color. But little attention has been paid to who Bill de Blasio has floated to replace Bloomberg’s police chief, Ray Kelly, with, specifically Bill Bratton.

Now joining us to discuss this is Rania Khalek. She’s an independent journalist reporting on the underclass and marginalized. Her work has appeared at The Nation, Extra!, Salon, Truthout, Al Jazeera, and more. Her recent blog post is titled “De Blasio Wants to Replace Ray Kelly with Bill Bratton, the Father of Suppression Policing”.

Thank you so much for joining us.


NOOR: So, Rania, explain who Bill Bratton is, his history, and why people should be concerned that de Blasio, who, you know, people love because of his, you know, progressive social policies, like opposing stop-and-frisk, why people should be concerned that he wants Bill Bratton to be his possible next police chief.

KHALEK: So, you know, I’m no expert on local New York City politics, but just as an outside observer, like you mentioned, de Blasio’s been–he’s really marketed himself as a very anti-Bloomberg, very progressive. And one of the things that really stood out to me was his opposition to racial profiling, at least to seeming opposition to stop-and-frisk. So I was just really surprised to learn that he was floating the name, floating Bill Bratton as a possible replacement for the current police commissioner, Ray Kelly, because Bill Bratton is a staunch supporter of stop-and-frisk. I mean, just earlier this year, when he was hired by the Oakland City Council, basically as a consultant, he said in an interview that, you know, he supports stop-and-frisk, and he specifically said that cities that don’t have stop-and-frisk are doomed to failure. And, I mean, at the time, when he was–before he was hired by the city of Oakland, residents were protesting the possible hiring of him, because he has this legacy of supporting practices, policing practices that really hurt communities of color.

And so just a little bit about Bill Bratton. I mean, he’s been the police commissioner in New York before, in New York City before, back in the ’90s when there was, you know, this huge crime wave in New York City and cities across the country. But then there was this dramatic decline in crime as the ’90s, you know, went on. So he’s been largely credited for the reduction in violent crimes in New York City throughout the ’90s for what’s referred to as broken windows policing. And basically what that means is it’s like this, you know, type, this brand of policing where police go after sort of low-level, benign, misdemeanor type violations of the law like vandalism, they go after it more harshly, they focus on it more, because the idea is that if you deal with these smaller crimes, then it’ll avoid and prevent the larger violent crimes. And this has actually, this type of policing has spread across the country and even to other countries because it’s so popular.

But the truth is that it’s actually–and this type of policing has been credited with his reduction in crime, but in reality there really is no evidence to support the broken windows policing actually decreases crime. In fact, in the ’90s, violent crime was experiencing–all cities across the country were experiencing reductions in violent crimes, cities that weren’t, you know, using broken windows policing, as it’s called. But regardless, Bill Bratton, still to this day, he’s given credit for this decline in crime in the city and for spreading it to other cities, and his policing, his brand of policing is, you know, really admired, and it’s, like, a model for other police departments. But in reality, I mean, youth incarceration rates under his leadership, you know, sprung up because much–just like stop-and-frisk, I mean, his brand of policing really does–like, what it does is it ends up disproportionately targeting young men of color, just like stop-and-frisk does. So, you know, some people even call him, like, sort of the ideological father, Bill Bratton, called the ideological father of stop-and-frisk.

So the whole reason this is important is because Bill de Blasio, just like I said, has been marketing himself as this progressive anti-stop-and-frisk candidate. So, you know, it’s just really shocking that he’s floating around Bill Bratton.

And on top of that, this isn’t something new. I mean, I looked back, you know, before the most recent primary election, and even then he was promoting Bill Bratton as sort of like the opposite of Ray Kelly and promoting him as an admirable cop or his, like, policing strategies as some sort of–you know, something that other–you know, that would be better than Ray Kelly. And so it’s really important that people focus on this and notice this, because I’m not saying that, you know, de Blasio isn’t progressive on other issues, but, I mean, if this is one of the things that’s really gotten people fired up about him, I mean, they should be concerned. Bill Bratton is not that different than Ray Kelly. So, yeah, under his leadership, it’s very unlikely that stop-and-frisk would change.

NOOR: So, Rania, we’ll keep following this story. Thank you so much for that report.

KHALEK: Thanks for having me on.

NOOR: Thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.


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Rania Khalek is a journalist and co-host of the weekly Unauthorized Disclosure podcast. Her work has appeared at The Nation, Salon,, Vice, The Intercept, Electronic Intifada and more.