Entries in Ray Kelly (8)


New York's Kelly Plans 'Crew Cut' for Gang Members

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly, a former Marine, plans to use social media to give the city's emerging street gangs a buzz cut with an aggressive new anti-gang initiative called Operation Crew Cut.

Kelly will announce the strategy today at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) annual conference in San Diego.

New York's loosely affiliated gangs, or "street crews," "[are] responsible for much of the violence in and around public housing," Kelly said. "Under a program we've named operation Crew Cut, the department intends to double the size of its Gang Division from approximately 150 detectives to 300."

While other cities with entrenched gangs, like Los Angeles and Chicago, have identified as many as 100,000 gang members who belong to powerful national groups, New York's experience has so far run counter to that trend, and Kelly's plan aims to cut the emerging gangs down at their roots -- turning crew members' rising use of social media against them.

Crew Cut is, Kelly said, an initiative that will target "[not] large, established gangs such as the Bloods and Crips, but [the] looser associations of younger men who identify themselves by the block they live on, or on which side of a housing development they reside. Their loyalty is to their friends living in a relatively small area and their rivalries are based not on narcotics trafficking or some other entrepreneurial interest, but simply on local turf."

Kelly's plan comes against a backdrop of what he says is a small reduction in shootings, a slightly larger reduction in shooting victims, and an 18 percent reduction in murders in New York.

"We're hoping that by focusing more resources in a coordinated thoughtful way on these crews that we'll reduce violent crime in New York City even further," Kelly said. "That's because crews are responsible for no less than 30 percent of shootings in New York City."

Crew Cut is also launching, however, at a time when police agencies nationwide are shrinking. The IACP's own estimate, Kelly noted, indicated that between 10,000 and 15,000 positions have been lost.

Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Foundation Forum, said law enforcement professionals would be monitoring Kelly's effort to get ahead of an emerging problem.

"One of the most interesting stories in policing is why New York has not experienced gang problems to the extent that other cities like Chicago and L.A. have," Wexler said. "Kelly's recognition of this emerging issue of gang activity in New York and his comprehensive approach using social media will be watched closely."

Kelly tied his anti-gang initiative to the rise in social media usage and the overall impact of technology on the police mission, a topic under discussion this week in San Diego at workshops attended by many of the nation's police chiefs from jurisdictions as large as New York, as small as Hayward, Calif., and as poor as New Haven, Conn.

"Social media is [a] new ingredient, often used to add fuel to the fire. For example, one gang member will post a photograph of himself in front of a rival's apartment building or post surveillance photographs of rivals who they threatened to kill next," Kelly said. "Members also used social media to intimidate informants. They would post copies on Facebook of orders of protection that identified complainants."

In Brooklyn's East New York neighborhood, Kelly said, his detectives used social media to track members of warring gangs called "the Very Crispy Gangsters" and the "Rockstarz" until they amassed enough evidence to arrest 49 gang members two weeks ago.

"By capitalizing on the irresistible urge of these suspects to brag about their murderous exploits on Facebook, detectives used social media to draw a virtual map of their criminal activity over the last three years," Kelly said

However, Kelly acknowledges, "Despite the successes in this takedown and others, the department did not have any coordinated, consistent approach to street crews."

Operation Crew Cut is meant to correct that, and the Gang Unit's members will be supported by NYPD lawyers assigned to gang divisions in New York's five boroughs, as well as by uniformed and plainclothes officers.

"Our Juvenile Justice Division will be the clearinghouse to support social media-driven investigations," Kelly said. "In addition to tracking the admissions of criminal conduct and plans of future crimes by crew members on Facebook, YouTube and elsewhere, the division will be responsible for maintaining a dictionary of sorts with [the] continually updated lexicon employed by crews as a kind of code."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Etan Patz Suspect Reportedly Kept Boy's Body in Store Freezer 

(Courtesy Inside Edition)(NEW YORK) -- Pedro Hernandez, the former store clerk charged in the 1979 death of 6-year-old Etan Patz after he confessed to the alleged murder, reportedly kept the boy's body in a walk-in refrigerator in the store's basement before discarding it.

Hernandez was arrested Thursday after telling authorities that he'd lured the child to his death with the promise of soda.

He reportedly said that he'd strangled Etan and then stuffed the boy's body into a plastic garbage bag, carried it to another location and then dumped it in the trash.

Citing his confession to police, the New York Post reported Monday that Hernandez said he'd kept the boy's body in the refrigerator until he could dispose of the corpse.

Law enforcement sources said the police department is attempting to confirm the details provided by Hernandez and whether to search for remains, the Post said.

Also, The New York Times reported this weekend that Hernandez had confessed during a prayer meeting in the early 1980s to killing a boy.

The former leader of the prayer group, which was held in a Roman Catholic church in Camden, N.J., told the Times that Hernandez said in front of the meeting's attendees that he had strangled a boy, the paper reported Sunday.

"He confessed to the group," said Tomas Rivera, who often led the meetings at St. Anthony of Padua and was present during the admission. Rivera told the Times he did not tell the police at the time "because he did not confess to me."

Rivera, who said he'd been questioned by New York police last week, said Hernandez had also said he left the body in a trash bin.

The prayer-circle confession was confirmed to the Times by Hernandez's sister, Norma Hernandez, who said that although she'd never talked to Pedro Hernandez about the case, his comments to the prayer group were known to the family. She did not say whether her brother had revealed the identity of the boy.

In a Facebook post on its page, St. Anthony of Padua responded to The Times story:

"At the time the confession in the prayer group would have taken place, the friars had not yet even arrived in Camden. But some members of the prayer group back then are still active in the parish. Please keep the Patz family and the Hernandez family in your prayers," the message said.

Hernandez, now 51, was a clerk at a corner store in the New York City neighborhood where Etan disappeared 33 years ago. Etan had been allowed for the first time to walk to the school bus stop alone May 25, 1979.

Hernandez had worked at the store for nearly a month. He left after Etan's disappearance, according to officials. Etan's body has not been found.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Hernandez had told relatives and friends as early as 1981 that he'd "done a bad thing and killed a child in New York."

Hernandez was formally charged with second-degree murder. He remains at a New York City hospital because authorities fear he might attempt to kill himself. His lawyer said no plea had been entered pending a psychiatric evaluation.

The search for Etan has been one of the largest, longest-lasting and most heart wrenching hunts for a missing child in the country's recent history. His photo was among the first of a missing child to appear on a milk carton.

New York City police hailed Hernandez's arrest, saying that it closed a case that had haunted the city for three decades.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NY Police Boss' Son, Greg Kelly, Won't Face Charges Over Rape Claim

Jemal Countess/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A New York prosecutor considering rape allegations against Greg Kelly, a Fox TV local morning anchor who is the son of the city's police commissioner, has decided not to bring charges in the case.

Kelly's lawyer, Andrew Lankler, met Tuesday evening with the lead prosecutor, the head of the Manhattan district attorney's sex crime unit, according to sources, and left with a letter informing him that, following the investigation, it was determined the allegations against Kelly did not meet the standard of criminal prosecution and no charges would be brought.

Kelly had taken time off from his job while the office of Manhattan District Attorney's Cyrus R. Vance Jr. investigated a New York woman's rape allegations made last month.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Greg Kelly, Son of New York Police Commissioner, Accused of Rape

Jemal Countess/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Manhattan district attorney is investigating allegations that New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly's son, Greg Kelly, a Fox TV personality, raped a woman last year, multiple sources close to the investigation told ABC News and the lawyer for Kelly confirmed.

"Mr. Kelly is aware that the New York county district attorney's office is conducting an investigation," said his attorney, Andrew Lankler. "Mr. Kelly strenuously denies any wrongdoing and is cooperating fully with the District Attorney's investigation. We know that the District attorney's investigation will prove Mr. Kelly's innocence."

Sources told ABC News that Kelly allegedly raped the young woman in Lower Manhattan last October. Police officials would not comment on the allegations, and Deputy Police Commissioner for Public Information Paul Browne said that to avoid any suggestion of conflict of interest, his office was making no calls to detectives or District Attorney Cyrus Vance to establish any details of an investigation.

Sources confirmed that the woman was first interviewed by detectives on Wednesday. The case was then passed on to the District Attorney because of the risk of conflict in investigating a rape allegation against the police commissioner's son.

According to a close friend of the woman, the incident occurred at or after a party. The alleged victim's boyfriend says, she has been "an emotional cripple" since the alleged assault occurred.

"The boyfriend was outraged and out of his mind when he realized what had happened," a friend told ABC. "He went and picked her up from the office where she was distraught, and he said later that the rape had taken place there."

According to Browne, the boyfriend told Commissioner Kelly that his son "ruined my girlfriend's life," but did not provide details. The alleged victim's friend claims the boyfriend shouted to Kelly, "You better keep an eye on your son."

Greg Kelly, 43, is the co-host of New York weekday morning news show Good Day New York. He was previously a White House correspondent for Fox News and the co-host of Fox News' Fox and Friends. Kelly was also a Marine pilot before joining Fox.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


NYPD Can Shoot Down Planes, but with What?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The NYPD is capable of shooting down planes in the event of another 9/11-style attack on New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday, but it's unknown exactly what weapons the police have at their disposal, and whether their arsenal includes surface-to-air missiles.

"The NYPD has lots of capabilities that you don't know about and you won't know about," Bloomberg told reporters Monday, echoing recent comments by police commissioner Ray Kelly.

"Do you mean to say that the NYPD has the means to take down an aircraft?" Kelly was asked by 60 Minutes on Sunday.

"Yes," he replied, "I prefer not to get into details, but obviously, this would be in a very extreme situation."

It would have to be an extreme situation, given the danger of shooting down a large plane over a heavily populated area like New York City. It's also not entirely clear legally, whether cops -- unlike the military -- could shoot at an unarmed jet.

Neither Bloomberg nor Kelly would specify what weapons the NYPD has its disposal. Many believe New York's top cop was referring to the helicopter-mounted Barrett .50 caliber rifle, known since 2005 to be in the city's counter-terrorism arsenal.

The Barrett, a high-powered sniper rifle, could easily disable a car, truck or small plane, and is often used by the Coast Guard to stop boats carrying drugs, but it likely could not take down a large commercial passenger jet, like those flown into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

To shoot down a large jet, the NYPD would almost certainly need to use a missile or a large caliber machine gun. The NYPD would not confirm to ABC News which weapons Bloomberg and Kelly were referring to, or were in the city's arsenal.

Bloomberg said there was "not any one technology, not any one weapon" that the city would rely on completely in the event of an air attack.

"The main thing that keeps us safe is the 55,000 people who work for the police department," he said. "The 1,000 dedicated to intelligence and counterterrorism. The 35,000 who are uniformed and on the street every day." The mayor added that the city spends $8.5 billion on policing annually.

During the 9/11 attacks, U.S. Air Force jets were scrambled, but they required the approval of the president to fire on hijacked planes. Requests for comment on who is currently empowered to authorize a shootdown if New York City faced an imminent threat were not immediately answered by the NYPD.

In the ten years since 9/11 the NYPD has made counterterrorism a top priority, taking into its own hands operations that were once solely within the purview of the federal government, including gathering intelligence overseas and acquiring military-grade weapons.

Lower Manhattan today is carefully watched 24-hours a day by a $150 million network of some 1,000 closed-circuit cameras, and another 2,000 are expected to soon dot other parts of the city.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


9/11, Remembrance and Renewal: Is NYC Safer Today?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Ten years after the 9/11 terror attacks, Americans still wonder whether the nation's largest city is safer now than it was on that fateful day.

Since New York City police rushed to the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, there have been 13 terror plots against the city.

"They've all been thwarted through a combination of good work, good partnership with federal authorities and luck, and we'll take luck every time," says New York City Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly.

The NYPD is still the frontline in protecting against another attack, but Kelly says that line has become thinner.

"We're down 6,000 police officers from where we were in 2001," he says.

To compensate, the commissioner has changed the ranks.  Officers now train to detect radiation, and the NYPD has investigators in a dozen countries and officers who speak Arabic, Farsi and other so-called sensitive languages.

"There are some holes but we're taking care of business here as best we can," reassures Kelly.

And the new measures seem to be working.  Polls in New York City show that worry about another terror attack is at its lowest point since 2001.

Kelly adds that while "it's safer than it certainly has been, there are no guarantees."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Alleged Stabber Kills Four Before Police End New York City Spree

Photo Courtesy - New York Police Dept./WABC-TV New York(NEW YORK) -- A gruesome string of killings in New York City was put to an end Saturday, when police corralled a man they allege stabbed at least six people, killing four of them.

Maksim Gelman, 23, is the man police have arrested for allegedly going on an unmatched spree of stabbings and carjackings, all in just 28 hours.

"It's so horrendous and bizarre. We have no reason we can give you as to why he did this," said New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

The police have created a timeline of events, which they believe shows where Gelman went and what he did.

At 5:09 a.m. on Friday, Gelman got into an argument with his mother over whether or not he could drive her Lexus. He then stabbed his stepfather 11 times, police said.

Later that day, at 10:20 a.m., he went to his ex-girlfriend's house and stabbed her mother 11 times. He then staked out the apartment, police allege, until his ex-girlfriend returned home, and stabbed her around 4:15 p.m.

Just five minutes later as he was driving away, he rear-ended a car and then went up to it and stabbed the driver three times in the chest, police say. Gelman then stole the car, and while driving it at 4:25 p.m, he hit and killed a 60-year-old man.

Police said at 12:55 a.m. Saturday, he stabbed a taxi driver. Then at 1 a.m., he stabbed and killed another driver, stealing his car in the process.

Gelman was finally tracked down on a subway car by riders who recognized his picture from the newspaper. They alerted police, who got to him, but not before Gelman was able to stab a subway passenger in the neck, with what police have said was a kitchen knife.

While police have no motive, they know Gelman has a long history with law enforcement. He has been arrested ten other times, mostly for graffiti-related offenses. Authorities said his most recent arrest was on Jan. 26 for charges relating to crack cocaine.

Charges against Gelman are pending, police said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


NYPD Preps For Mumbai-Style Attack

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As U.S. officials proclaim an alleged European terror plot still active, New York City police conducted a drill Thursday that simulated a Mumbai-style attack on civilians on a crowded street in Manhattan's financial district.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly addressed the media before the drill, which began with two large explosions. "This is what we do," he explained. "We think the unthinkable." The drill simulated multiple bombs and shooters, including a bomb under a vehicle, and police responded with helicopters, dogs, automatic weapons and an armored car.

Earlier Thursday, the State Department's counterterror chief told reports in London that the travel alert issued last week that advised travelers in Europe to be careful was still in effect. "We don't view the conditions as warranting us rescinding the alert," said Daniel Benjamin. The alert was issued Oct. 3, when intelligence led authorities to believe a Mumbai-style assault on so-called "soft" civilian targets might be imminent in Europe.

In the immediate aftermath of the 2008 Mumbai assault that claimed 175 lives, the NYPD revised its tactics to deal with a terrorist commando assault. During Thursday's drill in the Bronx, heavily armed Emergency Service Unit officers were backed by officers from the Organized Crime Control Bureau trained to respond to such an attack. The OCCB officers are intended to beef up the NYPD response and prevent multiple simultaneous attacks from overwhelming the responding force.

The drill simulated an attack in lower Manhattan's financial district, near Wall Street and Ground Zero, on a mock block that contained a department store, a hotel and a federal regulatory agency. European authorities view these as the kind of "soft" and financial targets that might be attacked in a commando-style assault. Multiple civilians and officers were "shot" during the drill.

"We've got some info from one of the perps that the Empire State Building might be next," one police radio crackled during the drill.

As it did, helmeted cops with M4 rifles and M14 assault rifles began stalking the street hunting snipers and assailants.

"What we try to do is stress the system," Kelly explained, who said the exercise was the ninth since Mumbai. Footage of the drill will be featured on Friday's episode of "Brian Ross Investigates," which can be seen on ABC News Now or on the Web.

The State Department issued its highly unusual travel advisory  on Oct. 3, to "alert U.S. citizens to the potential for terrorist attacks in Europe. ... Current information suggests that al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks."

While the advisory does not name potential targets, it says "U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure." It recommends that U.S. citizens "take every precaution to be aware of their surroundings" and register their travel plans on the State Department's travel registration website.

The alert was issued because of strong concerns that terrorist teams in Europe have selected their targets and are now ready to strike at airports and tourist attractions, according to multiple law enforcement and intelligence sources.

European and U.S. authorities first learned of the plot over the summer following the capture of Ahmed Siddiqui, a suspected German terrorist who had been training in Pakistan.

Recent law enforcement operations within the United States have helped to flush out chatter that added to earlier concerns about the U.S. homeland as a possible additional target of the attacks.

Known targets are believed to include England, France and Germany. Additional European countries, including Italy and Belgium, are also targets, multiple sources say.

Siddiqui's claims about a multi-city plot against Europe have been bolstered by other "highly reliable" sources of information, U.S. and German intelligence officials said Thursday.

Siddiqui told American interrogators at the Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan that Osama bin Laden had personally blessed the plan, officials said.

Since then, US and German officials said, Siddiqui's claims have been verified by a second captured German terror recruit and "other sources" that officials were reluctant to describe in detail for fear of compromising law enforcement operations.

"There are several different sources, all confirming that there are plots afoot by al-Qaeda central, that is to say the Osama bin Laden organization in Pakistan, to do attacks in Europe," said Dick Clarke, a former White House national security official and now an ABC News consultant. "Now they don't have anything that points to the United States yet, but if there were to be simultaneous attacks in Europe, it's at least possible there would be a simultaneous attack in the United States as well."

German intelligence officials told that about 45 other "potentially dangerous" individuals in Germany are being tracked as officials seek to prevent an attack from taking place.

Siddiqui worked as a cleaner at the Hamburg airport and was a "devout member" of the al-Quds mosque in Hamburg, where Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 hijackers gathered prior to their attack.

The mosque was closed after Siddiqui's arrest, based on the information he provided. Officials told ABC News that Siddiqui had been under surveillance since 1997 and left the country for Pakistan in 2009.

Officials in Germany and the United States said they still did not have a specific date of the timing of the plot, and U.S. officials say they believe the plot's "trigger date" may have been delayed because of the media coverage and government travel alerts.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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