NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton just couldn’t leave well enough alone. First, he stumbled upon an interesting theory that ISIS is pretty good at social media. His next talking point landed Gotham’s top cop in even hotter water:
“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 with The Guardian (UK).
Of course, that quote was allegedly taken out of context, and Bratton has gone on the offensive to recover some of his lost PR mojo. He told the New York Daily News:
“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.”
According to Bratton (or his PR team), his quote was butchered through a moronic game of telephone where one reporter took the first story and hacked it to shreds. While that could be believable, Bratton neglected the sage counsel of his PIO when it comes to “stop while you’re ahead.” His next quote:
“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.”
Realizing that instead of looking out for Number One, he had stepped in a big pile of Number Two, he went on a local radio tour to make amends:
“I will be very comfortable saying, predicting, that we will double the number of candidates in our (Police) Academy classes who are African-American,” Bratton said Wednesday on radio station AM 970. “We just need to do a better job of keeping (African-Americans) in the process, and working harder to recruit them into the process,” Bratton told host John Gambling. “And I’m comfortable we can do that.”
In case you’re wondering, New York’s finest is made up of 34,630 officers and 15 percent of them are black, although just 10 percent of its January 2015 graduating class was African-American.
So, PR pros, should Bratton be given a medal of valor for his crisis communications prowess or does he need lessons in public speaking?