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NYPD Commissioner William Bratton says British newspaper misrepresented his comments on black police recruits

New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton

New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton holds a news conference after the annual pre-Ramadan conference for Muslim and other community leaders at One Police Plaza in Manhattan on June 8, 2015. Credit: Charles Eckert

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton has demanded a retraction from the British newspaper The Guardian after he said the publication misrepresented some of his recent comments about the lack of black recruits to the force.

In an online story Tuesday, The Guardian wrote that Bratton blamed difficulties in recruiting African-American men for the NYPD on the fact that some had spent time in jail and others had received summonses because of stop-and-frisk activity.

Visibly angry, Bratton said that the story "totally misrepresented" his remarks given sometime earlier to a different reporter for the newspaper.

"The original interview was done by one reporter, then they had a second reporter who took the first reporter's story and totally misrepresented it in the second article," Bratton said Tuesday night.

A representative for the newspaper in Manhattan didn't return a call for comment.

"My comment on stop, question and frisk impacting on recruiting was the potential alienation of black men, minority men, because of frequent stops by police," Bratton said. "But stop, question and frisk stops have no impact in terms of the screening process we do on hiring."

Bratton said that "nothing about having been stopped, even if there is a record of it . . . is reviewed by us that would work against a minority candidate wanting to be a New York City police officer."

As he has stated in the past, Bratton said Tuesday night it still was an "unfortunate fact" that in the black male community, a significant percentage of people are never going to be hired by a police department because of their prison records.

The most recent graduated class of 891 recruits had 732 males, of which only 8.6 percent were black, NYPD data show.

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