Over 400 faculty call for NYPD Commissioner Kelly’s resignation

Mario Tama, Getty Images (image courtesy of chronicle.com)

Over 400 faculty nationwide have called for the resignation of NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly. Professors Saskia Sassen (Columbia) and Jeanne Theoharis (Brooklyn, CUNY) wrote in Tuesdays’ Chronicle: “Faced with skyrocketing numbers of NYPD stop-and-frisks and revelations of the department’s widespread surveillance of Muslim life, in particular on college campuses throughout the city and the Northeast, we have joined other faculty to say enough is enough: Such rights abuses do not keep us safe, and they indiscriminately criminalize young people of color. The leadership that promoted these policies should face sanction.”

The full text of the petition reads:

We, the undersigned faculty, call for the resignation of New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne.  Under their leadership over the past decade:

The number of stop-and-frisks has skyrocketed, reaching an all-time high in 2010 of 600,601 stops, eighty-nine percent of which were of Black and Latino people. This is up from 97,296 in 2002. While the department claims this is about fighting crime, only 0.13 percent of last year’s stops resulted in the discovery of a firearm, and only seven percent of the stops resulted in arrests.

In the decade since 9/11, with the help of the CIA, the NYPD, according to extensive investigations by the Associated Press, has “become one of the nation’s most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies.” According to the AP’s investigation, the NYPD Intelligence Division and its Demographics Unit engaged in extensive surveillance and mapping of Sunni and Shi’a Muslim communities in New York City, Long Island, and New Jersey.

The NYPD monitored Muslim student associations at local colleges—Brooklyn College, City College, Baruch College, Hunter College, Queens College, LaGuardia Community College and St. John’s University—and universities across the northeast, including Yale University, Rutgers University, Columbia University, Princeton University, Syracuse University, and the University of Pennsylvania, going so far as to send undercover detectives to spy on student groups. Such surveillance has a chilling effect on student life and the intellectual freedom necessary for a vibrant academic community.

The NYPD screened for more than 1489 officers the anti-Muslim film The Third Jihad—which claims the “true agenda of much of Islam in America” is to “infiltrate and dominate” the United States. Kelly and Browne  cooperated in the production of the film, with Kelly sitting for a 90-minute interview with the producers. The NYPD covered up its involvement in the film until news coverage stemming from FOIL requests forced the NYPD to change its story.

New York deserves police leadership with integrity that respects and protects the rights of all New Yorkers. We call for Police Commissioner Kelly’s and Deputy Commissioner Browne’s resignation.