Self-Promoting Ex-NYPD Chief Producing Show About How Awesome He Is

Evidently not content with just one FBI commercial in their primetime lineup, ABC is set to produce a drama about the NYPD and FBI's Joint Terror Task Force "loosely based" on the experiences of former NYPD Commissioner and Stop-and-Frisk auteur Ray Kelly. According to Variety, Kelly will also act as producer on the show and it looks to be a doozy:


The project is loosely inspired by the achievements and expertise of Ray Kelly, the longest serving Police Commissioner in New York City’s history. It follows two Joint Terrorism Task Force Agents, a FBI Special Agent and a NYPD detective, both very different people with secrets who are thrown together to solve the terror crime of the century before it happens. Their target is a man who knows everything about terror because he was designed to sow it. Two of these people know each other intimately — but not the ones you think, or in the way you think.

Politico adds:

In his book, Kelly recounted 16 terrorism plots that were hatched during his tenure, none of which were successful.

Left unmentioned from this breathless description, however, was that the vast majority of the "terror plots" foiled by Kelly during his tenure as police commissioner were hatched by the FBI in elaborate sting operations. As Brendan O'Connor of Gawker correctly points out, of the alleged 16 plots in question only two were actual, clear-cut terror plots and one of those, the Times Square bombing of 2010, wasn't stopped by Kelly or the FBI but rather concerned street vendors. These rather unsexy details are missing from most media reports on the show and will, one can assume, be left out of the show itself.

It's doubtful, also, that the show will put much emphasis on the pervasive spying on Muslims and sleazy sting operations used by the NYPD and the FBI during Kelly's reign — most of which was captured in the AP's 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning expose on the NYPD's assortment of Constitutionally dubious tactics.

One case, in particular, "the Newburgh Sting" involved an FBI informant getting paid $250,000 to lure a handful of poor African-Americans in Orange County, New York in 2009. The high-profile case was sold as Kelly stopping an "al-Qaeda-inspired plot" to blow up aircraft and a synagogue but was, in reality, a plot designed by the Joint Terror Task Force, with inert weapons provided by the Joint Terror Task Force, and $100,000 being put in front of the men to carry out the Potemkin plan. Will this cheesy set up be featured in the show? Doubtful. 

All this is to say nothing of Ray Kelly's unconstitutional policy of Stop-and-Frisk and its damaging effects on 100,000s of people of color in New York City. Kelly and the JTTF's mass spying of Muslims aside, will ABC's fictional Kelly spend most of the show defending his manifestly racist policies of arbitrary street harassment? Probably not. Letting U.S. government officials write their own hagiographies is rarely an accurate way to reflect the realities of our "war on terror". Producing pro-surveillance, pro-war agitprop is a corporate T.V. tradition, but letting one of New York's most notoriously abusive police chiefs do so as a personal love letter? This seems low even for them.

h/t Gawker

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