Councilman Jumaane Williams is calling for the removal of NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Paul Browne for his role in evolving scandal over an Islamophobic propaganda film that was shown to almost 1,500 police officers “on a continuous loop.”
“Deputy Commissioner Browne’s role in this fiasco is also highly problematic,” Councilman Williams said.
The New York Times reported today that the film “The Third Jihad,” which critics have labeled as an Islamophobic propaganda film, had been shown to almost 1,500 police officers “on a continuous loop,” a fact that contrasts sharply with a statement Mr. Browne, the department’s chief spokesman, made saying the film was only shown “a couple of times when officers were filling out paperwork before the actual coursework began.” The Times report also contradicts Mr. Browne’s claim Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s appearance in the film was not authorized by the NYPD.
Councilman Williams described these incidents as part of a pattern of “blatant lying” by Mr. Browne.“This is far from the first time that he has displayed his penchant for questionable judgment, continual misrepresentation of events or blatant lying. I have seen this firsthand,” Councilman Williams said. “If this is the standard that the Deputy Commissioner wants to continue to represent to the taxpayers that afford him his salary, then it is time for him to be removed. Furthermore, if Commissioner Kelly has approved his decisions, then he too deserves the public’s scrutiny.”
The Politicker reached out to Mr. Browne, who suggested we watch the film in question on YouTube. He additionally provided a statement indicating the NYPD officer who placed the movie on loop was not authorized to do so and was subsequently reprimanded:
“Commissioner Kelly said the video was objectionable and that he should not have agreed to the interview five years ago, when I recommended it. When I saw the film in 2011, I thought the producers had used excerpts from Commissioner Kelly’s interviews elsewhere. In fact, I recommended in February 2007 that Commissioner Kelly be the interviewed after producer Erik Werth, formerly part of an Emmy-nominated Dateline NBC team and Clinton Administration staffer on White House security matters, asked to interview Commissioner Kelly about ‘foiled terrorist plots and the current threat matrix’ for a film he said he was making for cable TV. The video was never used in training sessions. It was a never shown at the Police Academy and it was never used in training classes in the Brooklyn location where it had been put on a loop on a TV, in a room which officers used to fill in paperwork during down time. As soon as an officer complained about it, it was removed. A sergeant who obtained it and put it on the TV loop was reprimanded for its unauthorized use.”
Earlier today, an Islamic group called for Commissioner Kelly himself to resign. Yesterday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the police officer’s used “terrible judgment” in airing the film.