New York City's top cop is demanding a retraction after he was quoted by a news article saying the NYPD has a hard time hiring black officers because "so many of them have spent time in jail," according to a published report.
The Daily News reports that Commissioner Bill Bratton has called on the Guardian to retract the story -- which bears the headline "NYPD chief Bratton says hiring black officers is difficult: ‘So many have spent time in jail,’ -- because his comments were taken out of context from another story published by the British news outlet about the difficulties of being a black police officer.
“We’re asking, we’re not even asking we’re demanding, a retraction and a correction because the story was a total misrepresentation of the original story,” Bratton told the News.
Bratton is quoted in the Guardian articles, both published Tuesday, as saying, "We have a significant population gap among African American males because so many of them have spent time in jail and, as such, we can’t hire them."
In the Guardian articles, Bratton attributed the "unfortunate consequences" to the maligned stop-and-frisk policies of past commissioner Ray Kelly.
But in statements to the News, he said that he was simply stating facts and added that the disparity can't be blamed on stop-and-frisk alone.
“It’s an unfortunate fact that in the male black population, a very significant percentage of them, more so than whites or other minority candidates, because of convictions, prison records, are never going to be hired by a police department. That’s a reality. That’s not a byproduct of stop-and-frisk,” Bratton said.
He said the NYPD eliminated candidates with felony convictions, but that many summonses that result from stop-and-frisk incidents are not considered in the hiring process, which was the point missed by the Guardian, the News reports. The commissioner told the News that every police department in America was having trouble hiring black officers.
The Guardian said in a statement Wednesday that it stands by its reporting.
"The Guardian has a strong commitment to reporting about police practices in America. We stand by our reporting and our interview with Commissioner Bratton," the outlet said.
Only 15 percent of the NYPD’s 34,631 officers is black and only 10 percent of its most recent graduating class is black.