Former New York City police commissioner Bill Bratton brought his pro-gun control agenda into a segment about the FBI's latest crime statistics on Tuesday's Early Show on CBS, blaming the "the insanity of the lack of gun control laws in this country" for an increase in police deaths during 2011.
Anchor Erica Hill introduced Bratton as the "chairman of Kroll, a worldwide investigative company. He's also the former chief of police in Los Angeles, New York City, and Boston." During most of the segment, Hill and co-anchor Chris Wragge asked their guest for his take about the overall decrease in violent crime, according to the FBI statistics.
Near the end of the interview, Wragge asked Bratton about one key statistic that went up instead of going down: the number of police fatalities: "Sadly, though, there is one element of these statistics where the news is not all good, and that's police fatalities right now....up 16% from the same time last year....'why are these numbers rising here with police fatalities?" The former NYC police commissioner included his "insanity" phrase in his answer.
Back in July 2011, Bratton and actor Richard Belzer appeared in an ad together where the two called on Congress to pass a ban on large capacity ammunition magazines on guns. During the ad, he claimed that such magazines "made the massacre in Tucson possible. Six people were killed, thirteen others were gravely injured, including Congressman Gabby Giffords."
The transcript of the relevant portion of the interview from Tuesday's Early Show, starting at 13 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour:
CHRIS WRAGGE: Sadly, though, there is one element of these statistics where the news is not all good, and that's police fatalities right now-
BILL BRATTON, CHAIRMAN, KROLL: That's right-
WRAGGE: Up 16% from the same time last year. Here in the New York area, everyone, basically, mourning the loss of one of New York's finest, Peter Figoski, who was killed last week. And yesterday, you see 15,000 police officers all show to mourn the loss of this officer. What- why are these numbers rising here with police fatalities?
[CBS News Graphic: "Police Fatalities So Far: Preliminary Numbers: Total Fatalities: 2011, 171; 2010, 147; Up 16%; Source: National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund"]
BRATTON: You're always going to have- no matter how good we are at controlling crime spikes- and what you're seeing right now is an unfortunate aberration, in the sense that this year, it is up, and assaults on police, particularly those involving guns- the insanity of the lack of gun control laws in this country. But the good news is that overall, the trending over time has been down. I was around in the days where we had 130, 140 police officers killed. Each police officer death is a tragedy in and of itself- yesterday, one of New York's finest of the finest. But I think that this year is an aberration that, hopefully, will, in fact, not repeat itself next year.