NEW YORK — The NYPD is making the case for its controversial “stop-and-pepper-spray-a-baby” program, which is the subject of a recent lawsuit. Speaking on Wednesday during the annual convention of the National Action Network—Rev. Al Sharpton’s civil rights organization—Police Commissioner Ray Kelly addressed the issue personally.
“’Stop-and-pepper-spray-a-baby’ has been one of our most effective crime prevention strategies,” Kelly argued. “Our officers have been criticized for stop-and-frisk, stop-and-berate, Simon-says-stop-and-go-no-that-was-a-test-Simon-didn’t-say-go…But we have seen clear results from stop-and-pepper-spray-a-baby.”
“The incidence of people using babies as weapons in NYC is at its lowest in years. “I don’t hear anyone complaining that they haven’t been stabbed by a baby with sharp fingernails that’s holding its arms out like it’s going to dive into a pool,” Kelly added.
A Bronx woman is suing the NYPD because an officer “needlessly and without warning pepper-sprayed a mother, father, and their three small children,” the lawsuit claims. Police suspected that the woman had not paid her subway fare. The confrontation escalated when the woman bent down to try and comfort her children, causing an officer to pepper spray her and her family.
“Stop-and-pepper-spray-a-baby” first began during Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s administration but has intensified under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s reign. As he has done in the past, the outgoing three-term mayor is siding heavily with the police.
“New York continues to be one of the safest big cities in the world. But part of living in a metropolis means recognizing there are threats both big and small. Babies are very small.”