Well, he spoke out to the “top brass”—an assembled group of several hundred high-ranking police officers—at a new police academy in Queens. The officers present were shown footage of numerous incidents of police brutality taken by the news media and watchdog groups. Commissioner Bratton held up the footage as examples of those on the force who are “poisoning the well.”
It’s a strong hand to play as commissioner of a department that has quickly become a symbol for systemic racism and institutionalized corruption. The Daily News reported that Bratton’s speech called on union leaders as well as members of the NYPD to place greater emphasis on correcting “the disparity of safety in this city.” The commissioner reportedly stated there is no room in the department for any officer “who’s so callous, so brutal, so corrupt that they feel comfortable engaging in those acts of brutality [in the video clips shown]… without fear.”
Deputy Commissioner Joseph Reznick echoed Bratton’s point, the New York Post reported, following a video clip of a narcotics officer stomping on the head of a suspect during a raid. “I’m particularly ashamed of that one,” Reznick stated, noting that he was the head of the narcotics unit at the time the video was taken.
It’s encouraging to see this acknowledgement and effort on the part of the NYPD higher-ups. We can only hope that trickle-down anti-corruption takes root, and the department can regain the trust of the people it purports to protect.
Follow John Sherman on Twitter @_john_sherman.