by Ali Gharib, The Daily Beast
President Obama’s suggestion that he’d consider New York City police commissioner Raymond Kelly as a replacement for outgoing Homeland Security Department Secretary Janet Napolitano was sure to raise hackles on the left.
The top NYPD official’s last decade of policing New York’s streets had coincided with the use of profiling on two fronts: the so-called stop-and-frisk program, which in overwhelming disproportion targeted young black and Latino men for questioning on the streets, and the many purported transgressions of the police department’s Intelligence squad, which targeted Muslims, sometimes on basis solely of their religion, for scrutiny.
In an op-ed for the New York Times today, Ta-Nehisi Coates took aim at both of foci of criticism: those programs are “why it is hard to comprehend the thinking that compelled the president, in a week like this, to flirt with the possibility of inviting the New York City Police Commissioner, Ray Kelly, the proprietor of the largest local racial profiling operation in the country, into his cabinet,” Coates wrote.
Stop-and-frisk and the Intelligence Unit certainly deserve the lion’s share of attention: both are far-reaching programs that cast a wary eye on huge numbers of New Yorkers, in the former case implicitly on the basis of race and in the latter explicitly because of religion. But there’s an incident from the past few years that showed a deeper side of Kelly’s brushes with the Isalmophobic fringes: his participation in and department’s poor and repeatedly misleading involvement with the film “The Third Jihad.” Kelly appeared in an exclusive interview for the film, which was shown widely during police trainings–both facts his department falsely denied and which he has never forthrightly dealt with. (Read the full article)