NYPD Comm. Ray Kelly declared support for Cuomo pot proposal...

NYPD Comm. Ray Kelly declared support for Cuomo pot proposal on Monday. Credit: Associated Press

NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly refused to back down Wednesday after criticizing some political leaders for not speaking out on recent violence in minority communities.

"My statement is something that I have been saying quite a while: There is still a lack of response to violence that occurs in some of our neighborhoods," Kelly told reporters after swearing in more than 1,200 new NYPD recruits at Queens College.

Kelly's similar remarks earlier in the week had sparked controversy in the black community. They came after a week of gun violence during a heat wave that injured more than 70 people and led to the wounding of a 3-year-old boy romping under a sprinkler in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

A number of black politicians went after Kelly Wednesday, saying that they have spoken out about the violence, but that he and Mayor Michael Bloomberg haven't heard them.

"We haven't been silent; the mayor and the police commissioner have been shockingly deaf," said City Councilman Jumaane Williams (D-Flatbush) at a news conference outside police headquarters in Manhattan.

A spokesman for Bloomberg didn't respond to a request for comment.

Assemb. Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) said Kelly's remarks were "unnecessarily divisive" for criticizing people who aren't directly responsible for public safety.

"The increased violence we have recently experienced is deeply troubling, and can be attributed to the fact that there are too many guns and too few jobs in our community," said Jeffries in a statement.

Kelly noted that the leaders who have been the most vocal in crime-wracked neighborhoods have been the clergy, particularly in Brooklyn. He also credited the Rev. Al Sharpton, who he said has spoken out about community violence, which Kelly characterized as the "elephant in the room" some won't acknowledge.

"What I was saying is the political leadership, some of it, is very willing to attack the police department, but not willing to take on the big issue, which is crime happening in their own neighborhoods," said Kelly, in a reference to attacks by Williams and others on the NYPD stop-and-frisk program.

"I think people are concerned, they see their communities being victimized," Kelly said. Asked what political leaders could do about the neighborhood violence, he said, "Acknowledge the problem."

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