Skip to main content

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.”

But this isn't just about stop-and-frisk, about Kelly's championing of racial profiling as a legitimate procedural tool, and Obama's willingness to endorse such a police leader at any moment, much less this one.

This is also about the NYPD's scandalous spying on Muslim citizens that mirrors microcosmically what the NSA is doing on a grand scale. That Obama would endorse a police chief whose force is being sued by civil rights groups for unconstitutionally spying on its citizens, in the wake of Snowden's NSA revelations, is hard to swallow.

As Kai Wright wrote last month, there is a connection between data mining and racial profiling, between NSA abuses and stop-and-frisk:

The logic used to defend secretly collecting the communications data of people not accused of any crime is the same logic used to defend NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program and Homeland Security’s deportation apparatus. The logic of “national security” was developed and honed by law enforcement practices inside communities of color. It is one of the more striking examples of a basic truth: racial injustice is cancerous; it eats the national body from the inside out.
The logic of "national security" is one Obama has come to embrace, it seems, with alarming frequency – a logic that places privacy and civil liberties below imagined security benefits.

It's a logic that not only can be faulty, but at a time like this, tone deaf as well.

Originally posted to David Harris-Gershon (The Troubadour) on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 07:31 PM PDT.

Also republished by Writing by David Harris Gershon and The Rebel Alliance.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, Paolo, claude, bink, JekyllnHyde, shari, paradox, cslewis, chuck utzman, DeminNewJ, jec, LeislerNYC, PhilK, Chi, grollen, copymark, teacherken, Sparhawk, El Zmuenga, glitterscale, Don Quixote, native, Gooserock, emal, DebtorsPrison, Shockwave, wu ming, hyperstation, LEP, Aspe4, LeftHandedMan, WI Deadhead, delver rootnose, RFK Lives, Matilda, hubcap, Heart of the Rockies, PBCliberal, TheMomCat, Zinman, missLotus, TracieLynn, whenwego, ask, boadicea, chuckvw, shanikka, barath, farmerhunt, taonow, Ignacio Magaloni, josephk, Nate Roberts, Getreal1246, psnyder, Dallasdoc, mrkvica, CitizenOfEarth, 2laneIA, brainwave, johanus, cosette, Steven Payne, RuralLiberal, whyvee, riverlover, inclusiveheart, dkmich, zerelda, xxdr zombiexx, Tirge Caps, nailbender, joanneleon, kbman, marina, 3goldens, PAbluestater, NoMoreLies, caul, CTPatriot, Roadbed Guy, chimene, democracy inaction, corvo, basquebob, ChemBob, YucatanMan, Laurence Lewis, FutureNow, ratzo, bleeding blue, Jaime Frontero, lotlizard, Ozymandius, LucyandByron, LieparDestin, WisePiper, peacestpete, Indiana Bob, jay23, CJnyc, Jim P, Knucklehead, Showman, esquimaux, detroitmechworks, Medium Head Boy, tung sol, dharmafarmer, mystery2me, kck, blueoasis, Blue Wind, triv33, praenomen, MJ via Chicago, StrayCat, agnostic, gooderservice, jerseyjo, PapaChach, boatsie, sceptical observer, reachjeff, IL clb, CA Nana, profh, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Lovo, Cassiodorus, blueoregon, shaharazade, Tom Anderson, bstotts, Little, tiger of winter, cpresley, tegrat, One Pissed Off Liberal, pgm 01, Haningchadus14, Jarrayy, SpecialKinFlag, Debs2, puakev, 0wn, yoduuuh do or do not, edsbrooklyn, FishOutofWater, CTDemoFarmer, suejazz, aliasalias, artisan, Kentucky Kid, HCKAD, Aunt Martha, bobswern, CT Hank, leonard145b, conniptionfit, Assaf, cville townie, mconvente, zerone, poligirl, Involuntary Exile, Ronald England, elwior, SmileySam, petulans, 3rdOption, KrazyKitten, LaEscapee, My Spin, Al Fondy, priceman, sagansong, billybam, protectspice, ZhenRen, legendmn, LaFeminista, bluebelle7, Bule Betawi, Rhysling, cybrestrike, MufsMom, number nine dream, J M F, spacecadet1, ceebee7, jarbyus, greengemini, lostinamerica, ewmorr, maryabein, War on Error, jennylind, shopkeeper, JesseCW, petral, RageKage, glitterlust, vmm918, moviemeister76, astral66, deviant24x, jpmassar, Words In Action, Just Bob, brentbent, AliceNYC, FogCityJohn, flitedocnm, roadbear, Susan Grigsby, Anima, mookins, Lost and Found, Simple, gulfgal98, pixxer, Lady Libertine, ItsSimpleSimon, OnlyWords, Jaimas, ffour, Funkygal, Johnny Q, 4kedtongue, Publius2008, Betty Pinson, DrTerwilliker, Barbara Marquardt, allenjo, slowbutsure, stone clearing, Teiresias70, Haf2Read, PorridgeGun, KVoimakas, RfrancisR, peregrine kate, PhilJD, Frameshift, randomfacts, cailloux, imlpdx, dradams, DRo, Mentatmark, SouthernLiberalinMD, allergywoman, No one gets out alive, OutcastsAndCastoffs, BlueDragon, quill, hardhatmama, DeadHead, Mindful Nature, Siri, orestes1963, 420 forever, congenitalefty, Mr Robert, the Don, wxorknot, jennyp, FrY10cK, AverageJoe42, ottoveil, CalBearMom, Chaddiwicker, JohnnyBoston, jbob, remembrance, gypsytoo, aresea, unfangus, northerntier, Avilyn, solarbay, Patango, LilithGardener, Kombema, footNmouth, Stentorian Tone, OldSoldier99, Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees, JohnWKelly, bygorry, Yang Guang

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site