“What to do with a top cop who’s smarter than the mayor?”, Myron Magnet asks at City Journal today:
You don’t get that result without developing superb political as well as policing skills, and the suave Bratton appears to have gotten only smoother and more diplomatic over the years. (For the record, though as then-editor of City Journal I talked to him regularly during his last stint in Gotham, I haven’t spoken to him since his return.) So, while he has cut the number of stop-and-frisks, as de Blasio promised the NYPD would do under his mayoralty, Bratton has refused to end them—instead, he has weeded out some of the department’s worst bullies and has trained his remaining cops to do stop-and-frisks with better targeting and more tact. Just as he increased the proportion of minority officers during his tour in L.A., he promoted Philip Banks III to First Deputy Commissioner, a post that Banks abruptly resigned, reportedly because he believed, perhaps rightly, that he’d be a token black dignitary with more prestige than real power. And since McCray, the mayor’s wife, reportedly had favored Banks over Bratton to head the NYPD, a tempest in the tabloids has erupted. In response, today’s New York Post front page shows de Blasio and Bratton making nice.
Here’s what I think is de Blasio’s dilemma: if he pushes Bratton to police so ineffectively that crime is likely to rise, Bratton will refuse and either quit, with noisy predictions that crime will rage out of control, or let the mayor fire him, unleashing the same loud predictions, which the tabloids will amplify. And crime will go up, unnerving now-complacent New Yorkers. And that will make Bratton de Blasio’s most likely challenger in the next mayor’s race.
It can’t happen soon enough to save New York’s leftists from their own worst instincts.