Ray Kelly campaigning on Morning Joe

A sure sign New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly is gunning for the Department of Homeland Security job is that he is stepping up efforts to publicly defend his more controversial policies, like stop-and-frisk. He has a new Wall Street Journal Op-ed defending the practice and went on Morning Joe to talk about the issue. While on the show Kelly didn’t deny that he was interested in the DHS job.

Ray Kelly’s defense of his policies relies on a select use of the facts and a weird attempt turn the entire issue on its head. In the Wall Street Journal Kelly even tries to claim it is his critics who are the ones engaged in discrimination, because they think Blacks and Hispanics should be stopped and searched with little or no cause.

Since 2002, the New York Police Department has taken tens of thousands of weapons off the street through proactive policing strategies. The effect this has had on the murder rate is staggering. In the 11 years before Mayor Michael Bloomberg took office, there were 13,212 murders in New York City. During the 11 years of his administration, there have been 5,849. That’s 7,383 lives saved—and if history is a guide, they are largely the lives of young men of color. [...]

As a city, we have to face the reality that New York’s minority communities experience a disproportionate share of violent crime. To ignore that fact, as our critics would have us do, would be a form of discrimination in itself.

Kelly is taking credit for what is a national trend. While the murders rates did drop substantially in New York City over the last two decades, they also dropped substantially across the entire country over that same time period. The improvement in NYC is neither special nor unique.