New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton denounced Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for his plan to patrol Muslim neighborhoods in the wake of terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium.
Bratton, who formerly served as Chief of Police of the Los Angeles Police Department, called Cruz "out of line" during a joint press conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio on March 22, according to Capital New York. Following the suicide bombings that killed 35 people and wounded over 300 others earlier that day, Cruz said in a statement that law enforcement needs to "patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized." Bratton, however, said that this strategy went against American values and demonstrated why Cruz was unfit to be president.
"The statements he made today is why he’s not going to become president of this country," Bratton said, according to Capital New York. "We don’t need a president that doesn’t respect the values that form the foundation of this country."
Bratton followed up on his comments in an op-ed in the New York Daily News on March 26, where he called Cruz' claim that the NYPD shut down its Demographics Unit because of political correctness "fiction."
“We do not single out any populace, black, white, yellow or brown for selective enforcement,” Bratton wrote. “We do not ‘patrol and secure’ neighborhoods based on selective enforcement because of race or religion, nor will we use the police and an occupying force to intimidate a populace or a religion to appease the provocative chatter of politicians seeking to exploit fear.”
Bratton is not the only top-ranking member of the NYPD to come out against Ted Cruz for his statements about Muslims. John Miller, the department’s deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism, came on CBS’s Face the Nation on March 27 to say that Cruz’ plan reflected previous “moments of shame” in American history, such as Japanese internment during World War II and torture of prisoners after 9/11.
“When you have people campaigning through fear and using that as leverage, and then giving advice to police to be the cudgel of that fear, that’s not the direction American policing should be taking in a democracy,” Miller said, according to TIME. “We’re the proudest country on the planet and that’s because we have been a leader on freedom and human rights and everything else.”