New York Daily News

February 11, 2004

Police union: Kelly has to go

By GREG GITTRICH
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

  Lynch at press conference announcing vote of no confidence. Photo NY Daily News/Susan Bates
 
New York Daily News/Susan Bates

Chanting "Kelly must go," union delegates representing the NYPD's rank and file yesterday called on Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly to resign.

Angry leaders of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association said Kelly betrayed their 23,000 members when he quickly labeled as unjustified the Jan. 24 fatal shooting of an unarmed Brooklyn teen by a cop.

At a meeting in Queens, 400 PBA delegates passed a unanimous vote of no-confidence in Kelly's leadership.

"We're calling now for his resignation," said PBA President Patrick Lynch, standing behind six boxes of signed affidavits expressing no confidence in Kelly.

But Mayor Bloomberg was quick to defend Kelly and take aim at the PBA.

"We should take a no-confidence vote in the PBA," Bloomberg said. "We have the best police commissioner this city has ever seen. He's done exactly what's right."

Lynch accused Kelly of rushing to judge Officer Richard Neri, who shot and killed Timothy Stansbury Jr., 19, on a Brooklyn rooftop last month.

He said it sent a clear message to cops that, "When you go on that roof and put yourself in danger ... and all goes wrong, you will not have the support of the police commissioner."

NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said Kelly performed a public service by "promptly and candidly" speaking on the Stansbury shooting.

"Some critics are too narrowly focused to appreciate that fact," Browne said.

Bloomberg said Kelly had "an impeccable" record,

"When you make a mistake," the mayor added, "it's in everybody's interest to say that you made a mistake, to do an open investigation, to make sure that you put in procedures to try to minimize the chances of mistakes down the road."

The last time the PBA issued a vote of no confidence was in 1999, against then-Commissioner Howard Safir, who drew the union's ire for taking a free trip to California to attend the Academy Awards, sending cops to investigate a woman who ran into the car of his wife, Carol, and having cops chauffeur his daughter's wedding party.