As spokesman for the largest U.S. police force, Deputy New York City Police Commissioner Paul Browne is one of the most important – yet largely unknown – newsmakers, reports the Associated Press. Lately, a series of flip-flops, hedges, and retractions about an inflammatory anti-Muslim movie shown to police recruits and other issues has made Browne the target of scathing columns in the local press and angry denunciations by community activists. Browne denied the existence of a secret surveillance program targeting Muslims even though AP later obtained documents detailing its work.
Critics say he oversees a system that withholds public records, plays favorites with the media, and promotes Kelly and the NYPD with a truth-compromising fervor. “There are too many instances where he has blatantly lied about what is going on with the NYPD to the taxpayers who pay his salary,” said City Councilman Jumaane Williams. Defenders say Browne is a trustworthy, tireless, and combative spokesman. “Anybody that knows Paul Browne knows he gives you the facts always as he knows them at the time, and later on, if he finds the facts that he gave you are wrong, he’s not shy about standing up and correcting himself,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. David Krajicek, a former police reporter in New York City and vice president of Criminal Justice Journalists, said, “I think the NYPD was a trend leader in attempting to control the message.”