Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Bill Bratton: determined to recast

NYPD to his liking






(Wednesday April 16, 2014, New York City)  If his twenty years away from New York City policing did anything for Bill Bratton it was to make him an even shrewder politician then he was.  In his latest version as NYPD Commissioner, Bratton 2.0, he has already staked his claim to plots on the political landscape that his predecessor Ray Kelly never knew existed and, even if he had, he would have paid them little attention.  This early on in his second tenure as the Police Commissioner has already provided a fairly clear picture of where he intends to direct the NYPD.  Perhaps he has just become so enamored of himself that he actually is acting with objective intelligence, logical and practical fact rather than what appears to some as just simple, blatant , dirty politics.  It has also become evident in the last few weeks the deep seated animosity Bratton has against Kelly and that is surely more akin to jealousy; Bratton is no Kelly and never will be.  That Bratton has seemingly gone out of his way to trash Kelly in very public forums reveals Bratton’s trite, vindictive, undisciplined sides that work in tandem with his outsized ego and sense of absolute authority.  Whatever Bratton once was as a Police Commissioner is long gone and only the sharp, pointy skeletal fragments remain.

On the same day a video clip was aired on CNN and the story of it widely reported in other news outlets showing the second in command of Al Qaeda, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, deliver a fiery speech before an audience estimated to number near 100 hard core zealots, Bratton decided to dismantle one of the off-shoot Intelligence Division Units that was constructed by Kelly in the wake of September 11, 2001.  Despite the Unit’s policies, protocols and tactics having been vindicated in two separate court cases, Commissioner Bratton thought it would be better to “heal” what he referred to as “poor relationships” between members of the Muslim, Islamic, Arabic and Middle East communities within the Five Boroughs and the NYPD.  There are two other lawsuits pending that question the legality of the activities of the Zone Assessment Unit, formerly known as the Demographics Unit although those very same questions have been answered in the affirmative, not only in courtrooms, but by legal scholars and constitutional lawyers.

The video clip that was released on several radical Islamic web sites is now being analyzed frame by frame by the CIA and NSA. High placed sources in the intelligence community agree that it is authentic.  As al-Wuhayshi grows angrier during his tirade he makes the comment, "We must eliminate the cross. [...] The bearer of the cross is America!"  According to intelligence sources, it was unusual to have so many high ranking al Qaeda members travel to one place for their conclave and that it has been “quite a while” since this much “chatter” from the terrorist organization has been accessible. 

When Michael Bloomberg succeeded Rudy Giuliani he chose Ray Kelly to serve as his Police Commissioner.  Kelly, whose apartment is in Battery Park City just blocks from where the Twin Towers once stood, realized that he would need to develop and implement new, novels strategies and tactics for the Police Department he commanded now that the terrorist had brought their war to our City. Kelly was determined to insure, as best he could, that the City and her people are never surprised such as they were on 9-11-2001.  Kelly was convinced that all the federal and military intelligence agencies were worthless; staffed by pension-padding, disinterested, disgruntled employees still preparing to fight the next world war with the USSR.  Kelly went to the Mayor with his plan to organize a new Intelligence Division dedicated to the external threats to our City.  NYPD already had an Intelligence Unit but their primary focus was on gangs, gun and drug runners and organized crime. That Unit would remain largely unchanged; they would be enfolded into this new Intel Division. As the plans were developed for this revamped Intel Division the PD and City lawyers were in on it from the very beginning.  All involved realized they might be treading a fine line between their vision and the constitutional rights afforded to all who live here.

As all the details were being hammered out Kelly brought two veteran Intelligence Officers to oversee his new Division. Both David Cohen and Richard Daddario were long time CIA Officers and were more than eager to come to New York and be a part of this new Division.  Kelly was also recruiting in the from the Ivy Leagues colleges for computer scientists, analysts of every stripe as well as seeking out more people to work as linguists since some of the languages spoken by terrorists are not commonly taught in colleges here.  Now, with Cohen installed as the  Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Daddario serving as the Deputy Commissioner for Counterterrorism the Division began to take shape, grow and go on to be an important component in the array of Intelligence gathering and analysis deployed throughout the City.  Another well respected and highly regarded CIA Officer joined the Division at the request of Cohen and then CIA Director William Tenet allowed Larry Sanchez to work with the NYPD.  It was Sanchez who orchestrated many of the operations of the Zone Assessment Unit.  It should be noted that the Intelligence Division created under Kelly stands as the premier Unit of its type and is the model for cities from coast to coast and abroad as well.

So, with the departure of Bloomberg and a new Mayor in City Hall the entire “brain trust” of the Intelligence Division resigned.  It is always customary for some officials such as the NYPD Commissioner to offer his resignation whenever there is a change of Administration.  Their resignations were expected but the men and women working in that particular Unit, conducting various details and operations did not really believe that de Blasio and Bratton would ever be so foolish as to actually disband one their operational intelligence tools.  But, sadly, they were wrong.  That is precisely what happened.

One might now wonder who will fill the void atop the Intelligence Division and what will become of the Detectives and Officers who were assigned to the Zone Assessment Unit.  As has been reported and confirmed by a ranking member of the Intel Division, those personnel have already been “reassigned” by the man who replaced the powerhouse trio of Kelly, Cohen and Daddario, former TV News journalist and longtime Bratton side kick, John Miller.  Miller is now in command of the Intelligence Division and, as several members of the Division commented, “There will be more profound changes around here.  Having Miller as Deputy Commissioner for Intel is an insult to all of us who have been here since day one.  Miller is a PR (public relations) guy, not an intelligence expert”.

While Ray Kelly worked 12 – 14 hours for most of his tenure from 2002 to 2013, Bill Bratton spent most of that same time as a high priced public speaker and “consultant”.  He was able to cash in on his police experiences and was handsomely rewarded for his efforts in the private sector.  Ray Kelly’s agenda, it is fair to say, was a bit more urgent. The threat of further terrorist attacks haunted most New Yorkers for the years immediately following 2001. As the years passed it seemed that much of the City had moved on and become complacent and aggravated by some of the new security restrictions that have altered large swathes of Midtown and other sectors throughout the City.  Many began to complain about how the City was being transformed into a “surveillance state” as more and more closed circuit cameras began sprouting up all over the City.  Activists asserted that the rights of the people were being trampled but, as has been stated already and recounted in many sources over the last decade, that was not and never has been the case.  
Complacent, aggravated, inconvenienced, frustrated or whatever the public sentiments were they were secondary to providing them with safety and security.  The public, civilians can afford to feel those emotions while the men and women in the trenches, the members of NYPD who now keep tighter grips on some of our landmarks, government buildings, the Wall Street Area, just to name a few, have remained ever vigilant.  Constant vigilance is our most effective weapon.  With the disbanding of the Zoning Assessment Unit we have just lost a layer of protection and prevention for no reason other than it was causing some alarm in certain segments of the City.  De Blasio and Bratton will cave to pressure from their “constituents” but, if, God forbid, we suffer another attack, there will be hell to pay.  Let’s hope we never find out just how much more vulnerable we are today than we were yesterday.  Al Qaeda is most certainly monitoring developments here, we remain their primary target.  We should also hope that John Miller is a fast learner.

Copyright The Brooding Cynyx 2014 © All Rights Reserved

Monday, April 14, 2014








(Monday April 14, 2014 Rockaway Beach, Queens, NYC)  Two men separated by a generation, one honored and laid to eternal rest today, the other a man whose effort to honor is itself a source of contention. For some this inconsistency reflects the reality that New York is a tale of two cities but, it really isn’t.  It is more a single city of a million tales, of thousands of stories and neighborhoods, characters famed, infamous, known and anonymous.  This City has a storied history and every day new pages are written into that dense tome.  We have known great triumphs in our past and have suffered through dark days.  There is an almost homeostatic quality to this living, breathing beast of 10 million individuals, opposing forces and influences reflected in our governance and tolerance, in what we think we share and that which  we all will never have in common beyond the fact we can all identify as New Yorkers.  The unique dynamics that function like atomic particles and hold this City together as an entity somehow make it all work.  For the most part despite the ups and downs, it remains, we remain.  And there are so many stories.  This is a story of a date that will live in NYPD both as a day of infamy and a day of sacrifice; April 14th.

The briny scent wafting over the gathered mass of dress blue uniforms along the streets in Far Rockaway is a world apart from the urban scents of auto and bus emissions and ethnic foods on 116th Street in Harlem that seem to defy the fact that the Atlantic Ocean is just a few miles way. Two different worlds in one City:  the largest and most complex and diverse in America.

Here in the part of South Queens that many New Yorkers never venture out to, the strips of beachfront where Hurricane Sandy’s roiling tides and winds delivered so much deadly destruction not too long ago, a 38 year old man; a son, husband father and Cop, was laid to rest amid thousands of his fellow Officers looking like a human ocean of blue extending to the shoreline horizon.  NYPD Officer Dennis Guerra was buried after succumbing to injuries sustained when he and his partner responded to reports of a fire in a housing project building in Brooklyn.  As is customary for all line of duty deaths he was given the righteous, respectful send off by the NYPD he had served so well.

If a crow were to take flight on an ocean breeze current from here and land a few short miles to the northwest, it might alight atop a squat, stolid building with a plain concrete fa├žade, the longtime home of NYPD’s 28th Precinct.  Exactly 42 years ago today another NYPD Officer, Phillip Cardillo was shot and lost his life in a line of duty death six days later.  He too was a son, father, and husband and a Cop but his funeral was not attended by the Mayor or Police Commissioner, no luminaries or politicians saw fit to pay their respects.  To this day an effort to honor Officer Cardillo with a mural to be painted on the side of the Precinct House parking lot wall and by renaming the segment of the block the 28th Precinct sits on after Officer Cardillo remains a “controversial” issue that sadly and obviously the new NYPD Commissioner wants to avoid. 

April 14, 1972

One has to travel back in time to the City as it was on April 14, 1972.  Racial unrest had spread from the Deep South and was now being waged in cities across the northeast out to the west coast.  The peaceful “passive resistance” strategy championed by the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King was not bringing enough changes in society for the younger generation of “civil rights activists”.  These younger leaders were far more militant, strident and aggressive than anything Dr. King could have imagined or condoned.  But, the Black Panthers and the Nation of Islam were taking up arms against law enforcement officer all over the country and, by Spring in 1972 the NYPD was in a low level hot guerilla war with these angry armed factions.

After a fake 911 call reporting Officer’s in need of assistance was placed from Mosque #7 on 116th Street, a Mosque lead by a firebrand Black separatist, Louis Farrakhan, where Malcolm X had prayed before the militants in his own movement assassinated him.  When two Police Officers arrived at the Mosque they entered only to be surrounded by a group of 12 to 15 men who beat and kicked them savagely and locked the doors so no one else could enter.  In the course of this melee one of the assailants grabbed Officer Cardillo’s weapon and fired at point blank range into the man’s chest.  Eventually other Cops gained access to the Mosque.  By that time all involved had taken refuge in the basement of the building.  While officers on the scene frantically tried to transport their wounded brothers to urgent medical care other Officers were making arrests in the basement.  On the street outside a large crowd had gathered quickly and before long a riotous atmosphere cast a dark pall over the block as one Police car burned and rocks and other items were being rained down on the Police from the surrounding rooftops. 

Before long Louis Farrakhan appeared in the basement with Congressmen Charlie Rangel, yes THAT Charlie Rangel and, in no uncertain terms informed the Police Officers making the arrests that if they did not release the suspects immediately, the situation outside would intensify.  Essentially, these two characters dissuaded one of the top ranking NYPD members on the scene Ben Ward, yes THAT Ben Ward, to allow the suspects to remain in the Mosque while the NYPD was ordered to retreat.  This episode was not only a damaging milestone for our City, it remains one of the most raw, painful, insulting and contentious in the history of the NYPD.

Even now, more than four decades after Officer Cardillo was buried without the honor and respect that was due him for the sordid, dishonorable reasons of political expediency and to pacify the Black community.  To this very day all efforts to pay respect for his service and sacrifice by either renaming a segment of the street in front of the 28th Precinct or painting a memorial mural on the Precinct’s parking lot wall, continue to be rebuffed by the local Community Board on behalf of the small cadre of self-proclaimed, self-styled Black activists, African-American blowhards and a peanut choir of similar cooks and cranks who are adamantly anti-NYPD.  One of the Community Board members said that if Officer Cardillo’s death was going to be recognized in that neighborhood, on that block, that it would, “Open old wounds”.  Well, the members of NYPD past and present have been living with that same wound still open and bleeding.  Once again the cowardice of an Administration and an NYPD Commissioner is obviously a powerfully restraining force that has laid bare the distinct lack of integrity and propriety of Mayor Bill de Blasio and, even more sickening, Commissioner Bill Bratton.

Books have been written about the “incident” at Mosque #7 and, as a result of that event NYPD policy for responding to calls to any religious building or site was rewritten.  Now Officers on patrol cannot enter a religious building be it a Catholic Church, Synagogue, Mosque or other house of worship or temple, until there is at least a ranking superior on site.

APRIL 14, 2014

Officer Guerra who was laid to rest today was not alive when Officer Cardillo lost his life.  Although 42 years separate their deaths, they are both members of a continuous, steady, storied lineage of an organization that honors its history and traditions as much as it does each man and woman who has ever served. 

Officer Guerra died as a result of injuries sustained that are not common for Police Officers line of duty death.  But, that is irrelevant on this day.  He and his still hospitalized partner responded to a fire and it was the toxic smoke from that fire that felled them as quickly and effectively as shotgun toting thugs.  Since that fire the NYPD has already announced new protocols for Officers as “first responders” to a fire scene.  This is a case of fixing the fence after the herd has escaped but, it might save a future life.  It is difficult to say.

Policy and protocol do not trump courage, dedication and sacrifice.  What the members of NYPD respond to day in day out, 24/7, 365 days a year are as many and varied an array of scenarios as Officers in any other jurisdiction will ever see throughout their career.  That is not an insult to other Police Departments or Law Enforcement Agencies; it is the simple reality of policing in New York City.

Hopefully no one will read this as a comparison between the two Officers.  It is not; it is a statement on how even though the state of affairs in our City may vary from time to time, through good times and bad, one consistent, solid chain that keeps it all together is the continuum of the NYPD and its traditions and, despite the inherent danger the Job entails, there will always be men and women of good decent desire to serve.

Copyright The Brooding Cynyx 2014 © All Rights Reserved