Ray Kelly says Bill de Blasio is full of it

In a wide-ranging interview with Playboy, the outgoing NYPD head settles scores and talks about his legacy

By Elias Isquith

Published November 15, 2013 7:00PM (EST)

Ray Kelly          (AP/Matt Rourke)
Ray Kelly (AP/Matt Rourke)

Ray Kelly may be on his way out as NYPD head, but he's not going without a fight.

According to a report in the New York Daily News, Kelly, in an interview with Playboy, took a big shot at incoming mayor Bill de Blasio, answering in the affirmative when asked if he thought de Blasio (as well as former mayoral candidate Bill Thompson) was "full of shit."

"Do you think they were just full of shit?" Playboy asked.

"Absolutely," Kelly replied. “It just goes to show you what some politicians will do,” he continued. “They’ll say or do anything to get elected. I know all these people. They all claimed to be friends of mine until their mayoral campaigns.”

Kelly also defended his department's use of the controversial stop-and-frisk practice, saying that his critics "never talk about ... the lives being saved."

"I know we’re saving lives, and I know we’re doing the right thing," Kelly said.

Kelly also denied that stop-and-frisk has resulted in him having a strained relationship with the city's African-American community. “You might read something snarky on Twitter,” Kelly said. “But I could take you right now up to 125th St. in Harlem and young men will stop me for my picture and give me a very favorable and friendly greeting. They understand that we’re saving lives in their community, that they’re the ones at risk.”

Asked whether he worries about how stop-and-frisk will affect his legacy, Kelly was dismissive.

"I never think of the word legacy," he said. "It doesn’t mean anything. You do the right thing, in my judgment, and things will work out. That’s what drives me. I’m not looking for legacy or history books or whatever. I know what we’ve done here is save a significant number of lives.”

More from the Daily News:

The Q&A, appearing in the December edition of Playboy, hits newsstands Friday. It was Kelly’s first sitdown with the venerable men’s magazine.

The lengthy chat had Kelly commenting on an assortment of topics, including his first days in the Bloomberg administration — only three months after 9/11.

“It wasn’t a question of if New York was going to be attacked again by terrorists, it was when,” Kelly recalled.

“It wasn’t a question of if crime was going to go up, it was by how much. It was a pessimistic time. People were expecting more mayhem to break out, people were leaving the city.”

The commissioner had praise for the man who hired him during those dark days.

“A very intelligent person, and funny,” Kelly said of Bloomberg. “He has tremendous compassion. I’ve gone with him to hospitals many times to visit police officers who have been wounded, or the families of officers who have been killed.”

“I see a very sensitive and warm person, very touched in those situations.”

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Bill De Blasio Bill Thompson New York City New York Daily News Playboy Ray Kelly Stop-and-frisk