CBS’s Pelley to NYPD Commissioner: ‘What Does a Black Man in NYC Have to Fear From the NYPD?’

During an appearance on Thursday’s CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Bill Bratton was asked by anchor Scott Pelley if African-American men had any reason to be afraid of the NYPD and what he was going to change about policing in the aftermath of the Eric Garner case. 

After Batton told Pelley what was changing about the way officers in the NYPD go about their jobs, Pelley posed this question to him: “What does a black man in New York City have to fear from the NYPD?” [MP3 audio here; Video below]

Bratton began to say that “[a]ctually, he doesn't have anything to fear from us” and that it was unfortunate, but Pelley interjected to state that “[t]he people out there on the streets don't think so.”

At that point, Bratton was able to give a full response and agreed with Pelley’s observation about current public opinion:

Well, that's correct. That's what I'm saying, they don't, but they do feel that, and it's the result of, unfortunately, the stop, question, and frisk controversy that overshadows so much of the success in reducing crime in the city for so many years. We've reduced that impact significantly down from 700,000 stops to less than 50,000 this year. Through the training we're trying to improve the way our officers interact and approach people and if they have to engage in force, making sure that they have better skills in using that force.

The remaining portion of the interview dove into whether a chokehold was used by NYPD Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo in arresting Garner that tragically led to his death on July 17 and if how he handled the situation is what’s taught in the NYPD police academy.

The full transcript of the interview that aired on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on December 4 is transcribed below.

CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley
December 4, 2014
6:33 p.m. Eastern

SCOTT PELLEY: Joining us now is Bill Bratton on his second tour as New York Police Commissioner and the former head of the Los Angeles Police Department and the Boston Police Commissioner, thank you for your time. Do you see anything in that videotape that you can justify? 

BILL BRATTON: Well, the way it's going to now work, I will be doing an administrative investigation now that the criminal case is over. We'll make a determination if anything that occurred is in violation of our policies and procedures. 

PELLEY: Mayor de Blasio just said “the way we go about policing has to change.” What are you prepared to change?

BRATTON: We’re actually doing a lot of changing in the NYPD that we have put in place new training for our recruit officers, post-recruit training. We are going to retrain 20,000 officers with three days of in-service training on policies, procedures, protocols to try and reduce some of the tension, to try and reduce some of the use of force that we have to engage in from time to time. 

PELLEY: What does a black man in New York City have to fear from the NYPD? 

BRATTON: Actually he doesn't have anything to fear from us.  That’s, unfortunately though –

PELLEY: The people out there on the streets don't think so. 

BRATTON: Well, that's correct. That's what I'm saying, they don't, but they do feel that, and it's the result of, unfortunately, the stop, question, and frisk controversy that overshadows so much of the success in reducing crime in the city for so many years. We've reduced that impact significantly down from 700,000 stops to less than 50,000 this year. Through the training we're trying to improve the way our officers interact and approach people and if they have to engage in force, making sure that they have better skills in using that force. 

PELLEY: The officer involved in this incident says that he was taught that maneuver that he used at the police academy. Is that taught at the police academy? Is that sanctioned by the NYPD? 

BRATTON: Part of the investigation will be to determine what everybody has seen on that video is that, in fact, within the framework of what we teach our officers in terms of how do you take down a person you're attempting to arrest? 

PELLEY: Well, let me put it this way-- is a chokehold one of the things that officers are allowed to use in New York City? 

BRATTON: Chokeholds are prohibited by Department policy going back to 1993. However, as in all cases with rules, regulations, there are exceptions. If an officer feels that he is in imminent danger, that some of the prohibitions that if he feels he's in a life-threatening situation, what needs to be understood, chokehold is not illegal. It's not against the law. It's against the Department policy and protocol. 

PELLEY: Bill Bratton, Commissioner of the NYPD, thank you. 

BRATTON: Thank you. Pleasure. Nice to be with you.

Crime CBS CBS Evening News New York Bill Bratton NYPD Scott Pelley
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