William Bratton’s tenure as police chief in Los Angeles in the early 2000s may provide hints of what to expect in his role leading the New York force, says the New York Times. Bratton relied on many aggressive techniques that have proved divisive in New York, even as he was seen as an ally by civil rights leaders. Appointed in 2002, he took the reins of a department mired in scandal and seen as hostile to black and Latino residents. “Bratton ushered in the end of the bad-old-days,” said Connie Rice, a civil rights attorney who spent decades suing the police and became one of his enthusiastic supporters. Bratton was given credit for bringing down crime for six years. He put more officers on the streets, concentrating them in poor areas and those plagued by gang violence.
With Bratton at the helm, the number of pedestrians stopped by the police significantly increased, with a third of such stops leading to arrests. He also had critics. While he helped bring an end to federal oversight and was lauded for improving community relations and bringing racial diversity to the police force, he was criticized for increasing the police presence among the homeless concentrated on Skid Row, and for excessive stops of pedestrians, particularly in poor neighborhoods. “He gets all this credit for getting a focused goal done, but the real impact of that is really creating a permanent underclass of over-policed people,” said Carol Sobel, a lawyer involved in lawsuits against the police.