NEW YORK -- New York City Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio named William J. Bratton to return as the city’s police commissioner Thursday, selecting the former LAPD police chief to head a department praised for overseeing a drop in crime but criticized for its use of racially charged stop-and-frisk tactics.
Bratton had been expected to get the job, which has been held since 2002 by Raymond Kelly. De Blasio, who will take office in January at the end of Michael Bloomberg’s third and final term, was a harsh critic of Kelly and vowed to replace him if elected.
In a statement issued prior to a news conference announcing the appointment Thursday, De Blasio called Bratton a "proven crime-fighter."
"He knows what it takes to keep the city safe,” the mayor-elect said.
For his part, Bratton said in a statement that "De Blasio’s priorities are my priorities.”
People familiar with the decision had already begun reacting to it before the news briefing.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, an activist in the African American community, said he spoke with De Blasio on Tuesday about his selection of Bratton, who also served under New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in the 1990s.
Sharpton said he had a “very distant and adversarial relationship” with Bratton when he served in New York, but that their relations improved as Bratton served in Los Angeles and the two worked together on gang violence and police misconduct issues.
“Mr. Bratton knows my concerns and the concerns of others about racial profiling in stop and frisk policing, but at the same time is aware of our desire to continue the decrease of violence and crime in our community,” Sharpton said in a statement.
Bratton's time as NYPD's top cop made him an international figure, so by the time he came to Los Angeles in 2002, he was already a law enforcement superstar who had appeared on the cover of Time magazine in the '90s for his success in New York. He served as LAPD chief until 2009.
Susman reported from New York. Serna reported from Los Angeles.