New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton defended remarks he made about the “awful” morale of the police department under his predecessor, saying the comments were “not meant as a shot” at Raymond Kelly, the Wall Street Journal reports. Bratton has commended Kelly and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg for helping reduce crime and defend the city against terrorism, but has criticized the impact that the use of stop and frisk had on the relationship between the police and the community.
Twice during an interview Sunday on ABC-7, Bratton said morale in the department he took over was “awful.” The police commissioner said his understanding of morale in the ranks was formed from conversations with officers, talks with union officials and focus groups that the department conducted in January and February. “That was not meant as a shot at Ray,” he said. “Basically, it was a fact as I understand it and that’s something I need to understand as I move the organization forward.” Bratton’s earlier remarks drew rebukes from Kelly’s former spokesman, Paul Browne, and Kelly’s older brother, Donald Kelly, who called Bratton’s comments a “cheap shot.”