New York Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) said in a statement on Friday that President Barack Obama should nominate controversial New York Police Department chief Ray Kelly to fill the vacancy left by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
In a statement obtained by the New York Daily News, Schumer said, “The Department of Homeland Security is one of the most important agencies in the federal government. It’s [sic] leader needs to be someone who knows law enforcement, understands anti-terrorism efforts, and is a top-notch administrator, and at the NYPD, Ray Kelly has proven that he excels in all three.”
Kelly has received harsh criticism for a “stop and frisk” policy that has become the subject of a civil rights lawsuit against NYPD after the New York Civil Liberties Union revealed that the policy disproportionately targeted black and Hispanic men. NYCLU explained, “[F]rom 2002 to 2011, black and Latino residents made up close to 90 percent of people stopped, and about 88 percent of stops – more than 3.8 million – were of innocent New Yorkers. Even in neighborhoods that are predominantly white, black and Latino New Yorkers face the disproportionate brunt.”
The lawsuit drew the attention of the federal Department of Justices, which requested last month that a federal judge provide oversight of the “stop and frisk” policy to determine if it violated constitutional rights.
The Daily News noted that Schumer also suggested to the White House in 2011 that Kelly receive the nod for FBI director, a nomination that eventually went to former Justice Department official James B. Comey.
Writing in the Daily Beast, former Rudolph Giuliani speechwriter John Avlon speculated that Kelly might be well-suited to the position, “Kelly would walk into the job ready to lead and bringing an informed perspective on the essential roles and responsibilities of the department. In the event of a terrorist attack or natural disaster, he would inspire confidence among citizens as well as front-line first responders. This is invaluable and something a current DHS second in command, no matter how capable, would find difficult to match.”
TPM reported that White House spokesperson Jay Carney said it was “far too premature” to begin speculating about who might receive the nomination.
[New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly is pictured in January 2012. The New York Police Department faces unprecedented fire over stop-and-frisk, a tactic officials herald for curbing the city’s once notorious murder rate, but which critics see as a racially charged assault on human rights. (AFP Photo/Spencer Platt)]