Not a happy man
Rev Calvin Butts
Butts Wants Police to Rein in ‘Savages’ in the Department
By DAMIEN CAVE and CASSI FELDMAN
Published: December 16, 2006
The Rev. Calvin O. Butts III, one of New York’s most prominent and moderate black clerics, demanded yesterday that the city rein in rogue members of the Police Department whom he described as “ignorant savages who continue to prey upon our people as if we have no respect by virtue of our humanity or our citizenship.”
The surprisingly sharp comments by Mr. Butts were made at a news conference outside City Hall that was called to announce a march for today to protest the killing of an unarmed man, Sean Bell, on Nov. 25 by the police.
At yesterday’s event, political and community leaders said they planned to challenge Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to adopt a list of proposed changes in policing including several that were presented after Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant, was killed by police officers in 1999. For Mr. Butts, pastor of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, the pointed remarks represented a marked change.
Immediately after the killing of Mr. Bell last month, Mr. Butts praised Mayor Bloomberg for meeting with black leaders and questioned the department’s commitment to reform in muted tones, suggesting that Raymond W. Kelly, the police commissioner, was “insensitive” and “getting a second look” from black leaders.
But yesterday, while surrounded by the Rev. Al Sharpton and some members of the City Council, he insisted it was the time for the mayor to act.
Referring to the list of recommendations, he said that a special prosecutor should be named for police brutality and corruption cases.
Mr. Butts called for an end to the 48-hour rule, which delays interviews with officers being investigated for brutality or the use of deadly force.
Talk about stunned stupid?
Butts is seen as a moderating influence in black New York politics. But about a month ago, he was disrepected by some police in Harlem, and demanded an apology which he never got.
You can say what you want about Sharpton, but Butts is a much more reserve figure. For him to say this is simply amazing. Just amazing.
Butts had more to say. He told the news that the march scheduled for today would be the last march, next time, they might have to close down the airport.
This is an indication that the Bell killing is being taken a great deal more seriously than people have come to expect.
posted by Steve @ 1:29:00 AM