Channel 2: WCBS News

February 11, 2004


Union: NYC Police Commissioner Should Go

PBA Demands Resignation Of Commissioner Raymond Kelly

NEW YORK (AP) In more fallout from the police slaying of an unarmed Brooklyn teenager, union officials on Tuesday demanded the resignation of police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

Kelly was given a vote of no confidence at a meeting in Queens of about 400 delegates from the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. The PBA has criticized the police commissioner for announcing that the killing of 19-year-old Timothy Stansbury appeared unjustified only hours after it happened.

"That showed to our members that when all goes wrong, they will not get the benefit of the doubt," PBA president Patrick Lynch said after Tuesday's meeting.

The vote also stems from simmering labor unrest: The PBA's 23,000 members have been working without a contract, and union officials claim they are among the lowest-paid officers in urban areas.

"Morale is at an all-time low," Lynch said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended Kelly.

"We have the best police commissioner this city's ever seen," Bloomberg told reporters. "He's done exactly what's right. ... His record is impeccable."

A spokesman for Kelly, Paul Browne, said, "By promptly and candidly reporting on the Stansbury shooting, the police commissioner performed a public service for police officers and the community alike. Some critics are too narrowly focused to appreciate that fact."

Police Officer Richard Neri shot Stansbury once in the chest on Jan. 24 as the victim pushed open a red metal door to the roof of the Louis Armstrong Houses, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section. The high school senior and two friends wanted to use the roof as a shortcut to another building.

Neri's partner has told investigators that the shooting occurred after he tried to pull open the door so that Neri, his gun drawn, could peer inside for any lurking drug suspects. The pair were on a routine patrol of the housing project.

Stansbury startled the officers by appearing at the door and moving toward Neri, who responded with one shot, the partner said. The friends, however, claim the victim made no sudden moves and never got beyond the stairwell landing.

A grand jury in Brooklyn is weighing possible criminal charges against Neri. His attorney has said the panel could hear testimony from him this week.

The New York Police Department has about 36,500 officers.