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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 7/19/13

Obama's Endorsement of (NYC Police Commissioner) Ray Kelly (as next DHS Head) Is Stunningly Tone Deaf and Troubling

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Reprinted from http://www.dailykos.com

by David Harris Gershon


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Earlier this week, President Obama endorsed New York City police commissioner (and stop-and-frisk champion) Ray Kelly as a worthy candidate to succeed Janet Napolitano as head of the Department of Homeland Security.

He followed that up yesterday by stating on Univision, of all places, that:

"Kelly has obviously done an extraordinary job in New York," and that the police commissioner is "one of the best there is" -- an "outstanding leader in New York."

"Mr. Kelly might be very happy where he is. But if he's not I'd want to know about it. "Cause, you know, obvioiusly he'd be very well qualified for the job."

Brentin Mock at Colorlines  rightly notes that, given the conversations we are currently having after the George Zimmerman verdict, and given the racial profiling which Kelly so cherishes of black and Latino citizens, Obama's endorsement of Kelly is strangely "tone deaf" and troubling.

Kelly's "extraordinary" work in New York City has led to the city council passing the Community Safety Act, which scales back the police's ability to racially profile considerably. Kelly's stop-and-frisk policy is being challenged in federal court by the Center for Constitutional Rights right now. Obama's own Justice Department may be sending in a federal monitor to ensure that NYPD stops racial profiling. The following, questioning and apprehension of targeted black males is at the crux of the current debate around George Zimmerman's killing Trayvon Martin.

In the same week that Obama asked, in response to the Zimmerman verdict, if "we're doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities," the Kelly that Obama has endorsed has insisted that NYPD "disproportionately stop[s] whites too much and minorities too little."

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