Former Police Commissioner Bill Bratton slammed city and state leaders Monday for abandoning cops and helping create a “crime virus” to go along with the coronavirus in claiming innocent victims.
“The city is a mess and it’s going to get a lot worse unfortunately,” Bratton said during a WABC-77 radio interview.
Bratton surmised that the morale of New York’s Finest is at an all-time low after “getting attacked from all sides” and “being defunded and demeaned.”
Even more troubling, he said, citizens who would normally cooperate with police to ferret out crime are not doing so because they “feel intimidated” by their neighbors who are protesting police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of cops in Minneapolis.
“It’s a second storm,” Bratton said. “There’s the coronavirus that’s taking a lot of lives on the one hand and now the crime virus that will take a lot of lives on the other.”
Asked if he was disappointed with his former boss, Mayor Bill de Blasio agreeing to policies that will make it harder for the NYPD to tackle crime, including steep budget cuts, Bratton did not hold back.
“I’m disappointed with the whole political establishment here in the state, in Albany and in the city. They have effectively, collectively and individually, turned their back in many respects on the entity that’s most responsible for the crime reduction in this city, state and indeed the country — the police,” Bratton said.
While he did not criticize de Blasio by name, Bratton did not spare the City Council for pushing an agenda that he said catered to “the far left” and likened the legislative body to a “mob.”
“Most of them don’t know what the hell they voted for. They’ve become a mob themselves in the sense of some of the legislation they’re passing. They should be ashamed of themselves,” said Bratton, who served as de Blasio’s first police commissioner.
Bratton was particularly baffled by City Hall’s sudden decision to reduce police manpower — noting the additional 1,300 police officers added under his watch bolstered neighborhood policing, which was broadly supported as a move to improve relationships between cops and the community.
He said many Council members were too young to understand the fear of crime that gripped the city in the 1980s and early ’90s, when there were more than 2,000 murders a year.
Bratton, who also served as former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s police commissioner, said the city was a “hellhole” then and it was “the police that brought it back from the precipice.”
He gave a critique of what’s contributed to the increase in shootings and crime, which he likened to a “perfect storm.”
Bratton said Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature’s decision to pass an “ill-conceived” law to eliminate cash bail for many crimes before the pandemic hit is a “very significant and driving force” of the crime spike.
He also said “emptying” the state prisons and jails has put recidivist criminals out on the streets at a time when the court system is in “disarray” because of the coronavirus crisis, with delays in defendants being arraigned or indicted.
He credited de Blasio with supporting the need for proper and lawful stop and frisk policing and broken windows enforcement for quality of life crimes when he was police commissioner, but added, “We’re now abandoning that.”
Bratton said he’s “very disappointed” the city’s political leadership is “playing” to the demonstrators” and “not the just the left, but the far left.”
“It’s going to come back eventually to bite them all in the rear end,” he said. “The City Council has spoken and now their constituents are going to be punished by rising crime and the ineffectiveness of government to control it.”
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