Kelly: NYPD SPIES DESERVE PRAISE
March 31, 2007 -- Police owe no one an apology for their wide-ranging surveillance of potential protesters ahead of the 2004 Republican National Convention, Commissioner Ray Kelly said yesterday.
Kelly, lashing back at critics who had complained that the surveillance went too far, said cops "did an absolutely superb job."
"Yes, we sent detectives out of state to gather information but with good reason," Kelly said.
That reason, he said, was to "stop the kind of violence and other vandalism that crippled Seattle and other cities abroad."
He was referring to protesters who rioted at a 1999 economic summit in Seattle and at several economic summits in Europe.
Fearing similar violence in New York, cops prepared by sending intelligence officers across the United States and to Europe to monitor potential protesters.
Kelly noted that the department's efforts allowed a number of big protests to go on, including one involving 800,000 people.
"We defended free speech during the Republican National Convention," he said, calling cops' efforts "the Police Department's finest hour."
"A small percentage of people wanted to come here [and] create havoc," Kelly added. "They called it 'a day of chaos.' They were going to shut down the city."
More than 1,800 people were arrested during the four-day convention at Madison Square Garden.
Somehow, while it is ok to organize and plot a strategy to counter police action and destroy property, it is wrong for police to organize, and plot action against the plotters.
Well, to many.