Recently, while staring at our computer screen and applying a second packet of icing to our strawberry toaster strudel, a headline from the New York Post stopped us cold: "How an undercover cop foiled plot to assassinate ex-NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly."
The story shared that "former NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly is speaking out publicly for the first time about a Rikers Island inmate's plot to behead him and bomb police headquarters some 16 years ago."
Whoa. Ray Kelly's been sitting on this crazy story for 16 years? Damn. The guy had a few death threats, but this one sounds wild!
If you are thinking that this setup would be perfect fodder for the kind of A&E show that is viewed exclusively on wall-mounted TVs at the muffler place or in your grandparents' basement, well, you might make a pretty good detective:
But Kelly wasn't scared, the longest-serving commissioner in NYPD history told The Post in an interview ahead of a new A&E docu-series detailing how authorities foiled the 2007 scheme.
"We had this guy identified, and he was in prison," Kelly, 81, said, recalling David Brown Jr.'s plan to hire a hitman to kill and dismember him.
"I felt relatively secure," Kelly, who led the department between 2002 and 2013, said coolly. "It really didn't jolt me that much. You probably don't want to hear that, but that's pretty much what it was."
Wait…this guy was in prison already when he was doing all of the beheading talk? Ah, well, that diminishes the dramatic tension a bit; it probably wouldn't play on "Law & Order," but perhaps it was some real Hannibal Lecter shit? And maybe the cops had to grapple with some crazy mind games to get him to—
Kelly was reportedly never in any direct danger. Brown, who had been convicted of 30 crimes, was mentally ill and wheelchair bound.
If an A&E producer is reading this, let us suggest some more interesting Ray Kelly-related topics for coverage: Ray Kelly's secret Muslim dragnet program that produced zero actionable leads in the "war on terror" but managed to alienate lots of Muslim New Yorkers; Ray Kelly's program to illegally stop and search millions of Black and brown New Yorkers over more than a decade that prompted a stunning judicial rebuke of "broken windows" policing; Ray Kelly's longstanding feud with the other two-time NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton over who cleaned up this filthy town more. (Spoiler: That's not how policing works.)
Hell, the time that Ray Kelly cut the ribbon for an Applebee's with Dr. Oz and Tiki Barber in 2012 would make for more compelling TV for A&E's more conspiracy-minded viewers. Why was Kelly there? And why did he decline to state his favorite Applebee's menu item? ("I like them all. I don't have a favorite," is not what you want to hear from a decisive leader.)
All this Ray Kelly talk got us to thinking about other 21st-century NYPD commissioners we've known and loved, who might benefit from the TV treatment:
Bernard Kerik (2000-2002): In addition to having sex with people in a Ground Zero-adjacent apartment set aside for 9/11 first responders and being the former interior minister of the provisional government of Iraq during the war in Iraq, Giuliani's commissioner served a few years in prison for taking $250,000 in unreported cash from an Israeli billionaire, and later appeared behind his old boss at the infamous Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference following the 2020 election (Trump pardoned him). Today, you can catch him on the Hulu documentary about the Sarah Lawrence sex cult because he used to be good friends with Larry Ray, who was recently sentenced to 60 years in prison for his crimes.
Ray Kelly (1992-1994, 2002-2013): See above. Also, see his son's Twitter feed.
Bill Bratton (1994-1996, 2014-2016): When he left office in 2016, Bratton was clear about what would motivate his life choices going forward: "Over the last several years, this job has literally cost me a million dollars a year." So he took a job at Teneo Risk (and the board of, uh, "Electric Guard Dog") and Bratton, the guy who was on the cover of Time magazine in 1996 for ridding Times Square of vice, is now working for the real estate developer who wants to bring a casino to Times Square. Ain't life funny?
James O'Neill (2016-2019): O'Neill took a job at Visa, though he briefly returned to public service in the spring of 2020 when Mayor de Blasio appointed him a COVID czar overseeing supplies (the CITY recently reported that much of the surplus gear is being auctioned off for pennies or destroyed).
Dermot Shea (2019-2021): Shea took at job at Related Companies as president of property management (Related is also looking to build a casino at Hudson Yards).
Wow, that was weird, huh? OK here are some links:
And finally, prepare yourself for this journey: