The New York Times

February 11, 2004

Police Union Calls for Kelly to Resign


TMhe New York police officers' union escalated its criticism of Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly's handling of the police shooting of an unarmed teenager last month by calling yesterday for his resignation.

"That was the straw that broke the camel's back," said Patrick J. Lynch, president of the union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.

Mr. Lynch has been outspoken in his criticism of Mr. Kelly's actions after the Jan. 24 shooting of Timothy Stansbury Jr. on a Bedford-Stuyvesant rooftop. Mr. Kelly told reporters that day that there "appears to be no justification for this shooting." Mr. Lynch has called the statement hasty and unfair, as it came before the officer could be interviewed.

Yesterday, hundreds of delegates from the union met at Artun's, a restaurant and catering hall in Queens Village, to cast what Mr. Lynch said was 20,000 votes of no confidence in the commissioner.

"Commissioner Kelly gave a message to the 23,000 New York City police officers that said basically this: Take all the risks of doing your job, go up on all those roofs, patrol all those subway platforms, walk the streets day and night, take the risks to yourself, take the risks to your family, but then when the worst happens, when there's a tragedy, that you will not have the backing of the New York police commissioner," Mr. Lynch said.

The union also complained yesterday about low pay and interference in officers' attempts to transfer to other jurisdictions.

The commissioner has stood by his statements about the shooting, first in a letter last week to the union, and yesterday through a spokesman, Paul J. Browne, deputy commissioner of public information.

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

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg denounced the union vote yesterday. "We have the best police commissioner this city's ever seen," he said.