New York’s top cop has come out against Republican members of congress who have blocked tighter gun control legislation despite the rise in mass shootings, saying those elected officials only have their own interests in mind.
“Shame on them — shame on them that they are totally beholden, that they prostitute themselves in front of the NRA,” NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said during an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe Tuesday.
“They put the interest of their own political careers and that of the NRA ahead of the American people,” Bratton said. “The idea of the threat of the terrorist watch-list [doesn’t exist]. You can go and buy a gun, [and if] you’re on a no-fly list, and you can go and buy a gun.”
Bratton recently spoke out against the Republican party’s presumptive nominee, saying Donald Trump’s proposed halt on Muslim immigration has the potential to make his job and the job of police across America much harder.
Calling the ban “unnecessary” and “unfortunate,” Bratton said: “It works against the ability of police in this country to develop relationships with the communities.”
“The idea of somehow singling out a community for penalties that don’t apply to other communities, or seem to single them out... it works against our ability to work with those communities,” he told reporters on Monday, the Observer reported.
Trump again demanded that Muslims be stopped from coming to the United States until officials could develop a better screening process in a speech following Sunday’s massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Omar Mateen, the gunman behind the shooting at Pulse nightclub in which 49 people were killed and 53 were injured, was born in New York to Afghan parents. He reportedly pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State before the massacre.
Bratton said the trust of Muslim communities is a key component to thwart any terrorist or criminal plots.
“We need them to be supportive of the work we do. We need them for information, if in the case of what we’re dealing with at this particular point in time, young men and women are becoming radicalized very quickly, oftentimes through social media access,” he said.
“We could stop so many of these things if we had the trust of communities who see young people from their communities going in the wrong direction, whether that’s terrorism or traditional crime,” Bratton said.
Bratton on Tuesday went on to call it “ironic” that some NYPD officers assigned to a security detail at Trump Tower are Muslim, saying about 1,000 Muslims make up part of the 36,000 officers in the department. Some of the officers posted outside the presidential hopeful’s Manhattan skyscraper for his protection have been Muslim, he said.
Other law enforcement officials echoed Bratton’s sentiments with FBI director James Comey saying at a press conference following the shooting: "It's at the heart of the FBI's effectiveness to have good relationships with these folks.”
Muslim-Americans have repeatedly reported to authorities when fellow Muslims seem to be turning to extremism, contrary to what Trump said during an interview Monday.
“They don’t report them,” Trump said on CNN on Monday. “For some reason, the Muslim community does not report people like this.”
But FBI James Comey said that was not the case, noting: "They do not want people committing violence, either in their community or in the name of their faith, and so some of our most productive relationships are with people who see things and tell us things who happen to be Muslim.”
Andrew Ames, a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Washington field office, told Reuters on Wednesday that the agency has a "robust" relationship with the local Muslim community. FBI agents operating in the area have received reports about suspicious activity and other issues from community members.
Michael Downing, deputy chief of the Los Angeles Police Department and head of its Counterterrorism and Special Operations Bureau, said the city's Muslim community has been cooperative in reporting "red flags."
"I personally have been called by community members about several things, very significant things," Downing told Reuters. "What we say to communities is that we don't want you to profile humans, we want you to profile behavior."