NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton says it's hard to hire black cops because too many have criminal histories BY Tina Moore , Rocco Parascandola , Ginger Adams Otis NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Published: Tuesday, June 9, 2015, 4:00 PM Updated: Wednesday, June 10, 2015, 12:47 AM Jeff Bachner/for New York Daily News 'We have a significant population gap among African-American males because so many of them have spent time in jail and, as such, we can't hire them,' Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said in an interview. The NYPD has a hard time hiring black men to become police officers because too many have criminal records, the city’s top cop said in an interview. NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said it’s a challenge to find hirable blacks because so many African-American men have been arrested. “We have a significant population gap among African-American males because so many of them have spent time in jail and, as such, we can’t hire them,” Bratton said in an interview published Tuesday by The Guardian, a British newspaper with a New York bureau. Bratton put at least part of the blame on the NYPD’s use of the controversial tactic stop-and-frisk, according to The Guardian. He acknowledged the “unfortunate consequences (of) stop, question and frisk,” a policy that hit communities of color hardest. But once the article went online — with the jarring headline “NYPD chief Bratton says hiring black officers is difficult: ‘So many have spent time in jail,’” — Bratton went ballistic. “We’re asking, we’re not even asking we’re demanding, a retraction and a correction because the story was a total misrepresentation of the original story,” said the commissioner, referring to another story published Tuesday by The Guardian. “The original interview was done by one reporter and then they had a second reporter who took the first reporter’s story and totally misrepresented it in the second article,” Bratton told reporters. The city’s top cop went on to double down on his statement that many candidates of color were wiped out by criminal histories. NYPD Commissioner: Hard to Hire Black Cops because Too Many Have Criminal Histories NY Daily News “That’s well known. It’s an unfortunate fact that in the male black population, a very significant percentage of them, more so than whites or other minority candidates, because of convictions, prison records, are never going to be hired by a police department. That’s a reality. That’s not a byproduct of stop-and-frisk,” Bratton said. He added that within black communities, some “15 to 20% of black males have some type of criminal history and that’s an issue of great concern in the black community.” The Guardian did not respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for Mayor de Blasio said he “is committed to a diverse police force, and he and the police commissioner are committed to recruiting officers that reflect New York City’s diversity.” Even with the NYPD’s calls for a retraction, outrage started rolling in from black leaders and elected officials. “There are plenty of African-Americans who haven’t been to jail. It does seem a little insensitive to say that you can’t recruit because most of us are in jail. Where does he get that?” said Rochelle Bilal, vice chairwoman of the National Black Police Association. Vince Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, the law firm that successfully challenged the NYPD’s use of stop-and-frisk in federal court, said Bratton’s words defied logic. “It’s definitely within the purview of the NYPD to fix this problem ... Bratton has to deal with it and not throw up his hands and say, ‘We’re giving it the old college try.’ The NYPD needs as much aggressiveness in trying to find good qualified black candidates as it puts into trying to exclude them through stop-and-frisk and broken-windows policing,” said Warren. The city’s public advocate, Letitia James, saw an opportunity to review policing policies. “This is a teachable moment that affirms that broken windows policing destroys lives and opportunities,” James said in a statement. “We need to enact policies that promote diversity for our police force and city as a whole.” NYPD'S BRATTON DOWNPLAYS CRIME RISE, STOP-AND-FRISK EFFICACY Bratton hit back at his critics, saying he was just stating a well-known reality. “ These are facts and I always deal with facts,” he said. The NYPD discarded candidates who had felony convictions, he said. But many of the summonses that result from stop-and-frisk incidents aren’t considered during the hiring process — the main point that was misconstrued by the Guardian, Bratton said. “The issue of trying to hire blacks is a national issue. Every police department in America is having a hard time hiring blacks,” he said. Andrew Burton/Getty Images Bratton (l.) and Mayor de Blasio attend a NYPD graduation ceremony at Madison Square Garden in December. After several high-profile deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of white police officers in Staten Island, Ferguson, Mo., North Charleston, S.C., and Baltimore, many police departments across the country have tried to boost minority recruitment. Currently the NYPD has 34,631 cops, roughly 15% of whom are black. Its most recent graduating class, in January, had 891 candidates. About 10%, or 97, were black. EXCLUSIVE: NYC STOP-AND-FRISK PLUNGES AS CRIME CLIMBS Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former NYPD captain and community advocate for better policing, said there was no doubt in his mind that stop-and-frisk did have an effect on NYPD hiring. “Those stops where you were told to empty your pockets, and once the cops found marijuana, you’re now charged with a misdemeanor, and that happened very often in communities of color, as we know,” he said. He pointed to other law enforcement agencies in the city with a higher representation of blacks, like the Health and Hospitals Corporation officers. “If finding good African-American candidates is such a problem, then why are other city law enforcement agencies able to get them? It is the history of the NYPD to (have a diversity problem), and here is an opportunity for the commissioner to break with history,” said Adams.