4:08 pm Jun. 19, 2012
This interview gets loud, and has some finger-pointing, but it's actually sort of fascinating, substantively.
On one side is the chairman of the New York City Council's public safety committee, Democrat Peter Vallone Jr., who has long said the city is stretching the New York Police Department too thin, and that stop-and-frisks are useful, even if too many of them are conducted.
Interviewing Vallone is RNN host Richard French, who is opposed to the city's stop-and-frisk program. The debate heats up around the three-minute mark when French says police commissioner Ray Kelly or his subordinates are giving direct orders to officers to meet a minimum number of stops.
Vallone says Kelly has never given an order like that.
French regroups and says more broadly that officers were "given directives to meet their numbers" by their commanders.
What follows is an energetic debate about what it means to give numerical targets to police officers.
Vallone says "that means 'make a number.' Okay? 'Make a number' means this is the number we think you should be able to do as a good cop [using] your training. You should be able to stop this many people. That's what it means. It dos not mean go out there and stop people without reason."
Afterward Vallone vented to me about the interview, saying many of his arguments were edited out of the final interview.
"Yeah, real objective," Vallone told me.
UPDATE: And just to make clear, Vallone responded sharply to French's assertion that Kelly or NYPD officials were ordering cops to stop people irrespective of whether there is reasonable suspicion. Vallone said whether the goals are too high is a legitimate debate.