Already politically embattled, New York City’s stop-and-frisk policing is now in the cross-hairs as allegedly an officially sanctioned, city-wide version of George Zimmerman’s suspicion of Trayvon Martin that created the predicate for the tragedy in Sanford, Florida. “Stop and frisk is both racist and damaging to actual police work,” wrote Jamelle Bouie in the American Prospect.
Kelly unquestionably operates from this disadvantage: Musing from a podium is easy. Policing a city is hard. He doesn’t get to deal in airy generalities. He doesn’t get to wave off inconvenient realities. His job performance is ultimately judged not by the approval of pundits grading his remarks for their subtlety and deftness, but by lives saved and lost and criminal arrested or left on the streets.
I hazard to say that Ray Kelly cares as much about black lives as much as any of his critics, and I know he has certainly has done much more to save them.