The pressure is mounting on NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly because of a controversial anti-Islam documentary shown to new NYPD hires, which Kelly said yesterday he regrets participating in.
Interviews with Kelly appear in “The Third Jihad: Radical Islam’s Vision for America,” the narrator of which is quoted in the film saying Muslims want to “infiltrate and dominate America.”
Kelly first said he was never interviewed specifically for the film and the interviews of him were culled from elsewhere.
But Kelly’s spokesman Paul Browne revised that earlier statement, saying he was approached in 2007 by Erik Werth, a reporter and former policy adviser under President Bill Clinton, to interview Kelly about “foiled terrorist plots and the current threat matrix” for a video Werth was making for cable TV.
Yesterday, Browne said the commissioner finds the finished product “objectionable” and regrets taking part. It was revealed Monday that nearly 1,500 officers were exposed to the provocative film.
On Tuesday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a longtime Kelly ally, said that in showing the film, “Somebody exercised some terrible judgment.”
Fordham professor Christina Greer said the calls for Kelly’s resignation might not be far-fetched, coming on the heels of criticism for Muslim surveillance policies.
“I think lying always makes the cry for resignation a little bit louder,” she said. “Any time you lie to the public and get caught in a lie, I think you should be concerned.”
And the commissioner might have bruised that key mayoral alliance, she said.
“Bloomberg has to worry about his own legacy,” she said. “This is not something that he wants to be remembered by.”
January 2011: Tom Robbins at “The Village Voice” reports that NYPD officers were watching “The Third Jihad” during counterterrorism training. NYPD spokesman Paul Browne first told Robbins cops never saw the movie, but later admitted it was shown “a couple of times.” “It was reviewed and found to be inappropriate,” Browne said. He also said the footage of Kelly was lifted from old interviews.
Monday: The New York Times reveals that nearly 1,500 NYPD officers actually saw the film. NYPD documents showed the video was played on a continuous loop until an officer complained.
Tuesday: After the film’s producer contacts The New York Times and provides proof that they interviewed the police commissioner, Kelly admits that he participated in the film. Browne says he actually encouraged the March 2007 interview.
Wednesday: Browne said Kelly considers the finished film “objectionable” and now regrets taking part, according to Reuters.
Calls to resign not slowing
The top cop’s newfound regret is not enough for local Muslim groups. The Council on American-Islamic Relations continued to call for Kelly’s resignation yesterday.
“For them to be caught in a lie about a role in producing this film is just so unbelievable that the Muslim community will settle for nothing less than the resignation of both Commissioner Ray Kelly and Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne,” CAIR spokesman Cyrus McGoldrick told Metro yesterday.