Updated 01/26/2012 11:25 PM
Muslim NYers Call For Police Commissioner's Resignation
Muslim civil rights activists on Thursday joined City Council members and other advocates on the steps of City Hall to call for the resignation of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly due to his role in a controversial film about radical Islam. NY1’s Dean Meminger filed the following report.
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Protesters who gathered on City Hall's steps Thursday say Police Commissioner Ray Kelly lied to Muslims, the media and the city as a whole about his role in the controversial film "The Third Jihad."
Its producers call it a documentary about radical Islam, but Muslims say it paints them as terrorists. They say Kelly and his top spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, should quit or be fired.
“The Muslim American community and their allies are tired of the lie after lie that the NYPD keeps feeding this community, and we’re here to say we are demanding accountability,” said Linda Sarsour of the Muslim American Civil Liberties Coalition.
It was revealed this week that Kelly agreed to be interviewed for the film in 2007 and that nearly 1,500 officers saw the controversial video at an NYPD terrorism training facility.
Initially, Browne had said none of that happened.
Kelly did finally acknowledge his role and apologized Wednesday.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he's standing behind Kelly and Browne.
"Commissioner Kelly should not step down. I think it's fair to say that it was a little bit of an embarrassment that this film was made," said Bloomberg. "Paul Browne is as honest and as competent as anybody in the business of representing the city and giving out information. I'm sure he acted in good faith.”
But City Council members disagree. Councilman Jumaane Williams was falsely arrested last year. He said Browne lied to the media about what actually happened to him.
"The first thing you can do is get rid of Paul Browne, misinformation Paul Browne, or liar Paul Browne because that is not helping," said Williams.
“Be accountable, Commissioner Kelly. Be transparent and provide unbiased education,” said Reverend Chloe Breyer of the Interfaith Center.
Activists say they are calling on the City Council to hold a hearing on this issue. They say they may also reach out to the Justice Department to investigate why the film was shown in an NYPD facility.
They also say they want an oversight committee to monitor the NYPD, and they’re calling for the officers who saw “The Third Jihad” to be retrained.