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Edward D. Reuss
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The NY Cop Online Magazine forum has received responses to “Ray Kelly Takes the Heat”.

Click here to read “Ray Kelly Takes the Heat”
To post your opinions to this forum, just email us at CaptainReuss@Verizon.net


”I think that he did not have to use that word since the media has a quote from him and will not be happy to see, if the outcome shows it an accident or a mistake.  He almost guarantees a conviction of something.”

Hello Capt.
I read your opinion regarding PC Kelly's remark, in substance,......" at this time the shooting appears to be unjustified." Without knowing all the facts, I would suggest that a statement assuring a full and in depth investigation is taking place; and all the facts and circumstances will be presented to the Grand Jury, would have been appropriate. He should have continued; until the time that this process is concluded, I will not comment on the culpability of the officer involved at this time. He could have added; we can sympathize with the family, realizing the loss of their son. Our condolences go out to them, at this painful time.

That's the way I think the PC should have handled making a statement. Instead, he sold out every working cop on patrol. I assure you, I don't know exactly what occurred on the rooftop, in Bed-Stuy, at 0100Hrs. on a frigid morning, this past week.

What I can assure you is that the officer was in the midst of doing his job. If by way of a directed patrol, or on his, and his partner's own initiative; they were doing their jobs. Does anyone think for one moment, that this officer suited up for work, and was looking to shoot someone, that fateful morning? I don't think so! This is why, the PC, and everyone else hearing of this occurrence, should and must, give the working cop, the benefit of the doubt, until facts, and evidence, prove otherwise.

The word " unjustifiable " is one which displays a knee jerk fear by the PC. It's a word of appeasement and pandering to the community, media, and special interests. This, the same community that the officer was in the process of diligently patrolling; in an effort to help the residents enjoy a better quality of life.

Yes, it's very tragic, and yes very ironic, that a life was lost during this remarkable turn of events. The intent of the officers working that early morning was to protect, serve, and ensure a better living environment for the persons who reside in the multiple dwelling; subject of their concern and observations.

My prayers go out to the family who lost their son, and also to the officer and his family who must endure not only the scrutiny and second guess; but also the consequences of his actions.
 God be with them.”
Harry Morse, President
NYC Verrazano 10-13 Association

 I do agree that Kelly is not a bad commissioner, but I feel that his response was a little premature. He should have just said that he cannot comment, due to the fact that this matter is under investigation. Just like all the federal agencies handle these types of situations.

As you stated he is a take charge guy acting in an official capacity, but what kind of an impression did he leave with the jurors who are going to sit on that Grand Jury. The officers Commander and Chief feels that the shooting was unjustified.
We all know that if a ranking Sqd. boss who was at the scene made such a statement he would be ordered back to command with no meal and he better have his uniform ready.

The police Dept. was going to take a bath with the news media having a field day, that's just the way it has always been.

I feel Kelly should have acted more responsibly and been more supportive for the Police Officer as his Commander and Chief.”
Tommy Manfre
Retired Detective.

“Ed, You really missed the boat on the Neri shooting. Kelly's comments put a knife in the heart of all working cops. I guess the Commish is an old friend. So I can see why it's hard to be objective.”
 Andy Melillo

“Situations like the one that took place in the 79 pct, housing roof top is truly an unfortunate accident. I can't remember how many times I had to search the bathrooms of public schools in the dark. Kicking open every stall to see if a perp was squatting on the bowl.. It's amazing that after kicking open dozens of stall doors and then I kick open another with my gun drawn and pointed forward on my hip as taught at the range. A perp would be staring back me at a distance of 3 feet, he'd scream, I'd scream and it was amazing my reflex didn't pull on the trigger??? Situations like these happen every day to Cops on patrol and when a Cop enters a high incident dangerous area as vertical patrol of stairways and roof tops. Where on these locations violent crime such as Rapes, Drug use, Robberies occur and that's the reason for such patrols. That anyone in these locations at an unusual hour will meet up with a Cop with his service weapon drawn.. If people don't want a Cop to have his weapon drawn, Don't place him in dangerous locations”
Rich Schemmer
retired Brooklyn North Cop (80, 77 pct) along with 103, 113, 75, 67 pcts as a Cop & Sgt.

“I've been on roofs just like Neri, it's a highly dangerous job. I was a Housing Cop for 22 years. One thing I know for sure is this: when it comes to politics or a cop getting justice in a hairy situaution the cop always loses. Out here on Long Island Newsday has already labled the shooting racial, they will do ANYTHING to sell a newspaper. I have no use or respect for the media or the system. I've been doing work as a claims investigator for 10 years since I retired and one thing is certain: You can be completely innocent and still get convicted. All that has to happen is that the perp's lawyer is better than yours. My shootiong is over 23 years old and still going. I live by one credo: "If you wanna be a hero, yer' gonna' get sued". I don't see nuthin', I don't know nuthin' I don't hear nuthin' What cracks me up is the system onlyworks when it wants to. Hear me, I don't care what they say to the contrary, ALL KINDS of people are above the law, it just depends on how well you're hooked. The stress associated with my shooting put me through a dpression and cost me my marriage. I'll take Neri's word anyday and I was'nt even there...”

Commissioner Kelly’s remark may have been a blurted remark that he wishes he could swallow.  The problem is he made that remark in front of people who made a hero out of Rodney King which cost three officers their jobs in California. This country’s media has gone amok.  If you remember the Columbine school, it was shown over and over and over. Shortly thereafter shootings in other schools began to happen.  Can you point a finger at the “press”? No way!  If you watch any media news show they give you a number to call if you have anything that can excite their show.  It is like the “National Enquirer”, ordinary news is not enough.  We learned in the Academy that we serve society and it seems society would like us to take a step back. I suggest that active officers do this and see how long it takes the society they servce to ask them back.  I never met Officer Neri but I wish him good luck.”
Frank Mahon
Retired Sergeant

Capt. Ed:

Commissioner Kelly is a good man, but he really did P.O. Neri a disservice by his statement to the press. He has lost the confidence of his cops and will be seen as an empty suit from now on. The news media will play his comments over and over. If there is a trial, the jury pool will be severly tainted because of this. This is symbolic of the high command of the NYPD. At the first hint of any controversy, they don't stand up for their men; they just run for the tall grass. It's the easier path to take for their next promotion if they just sell out their men. You could damage your career by backing them up.
Bob Kress
Lieutenant, NYPD (Ret.)

I agree that in general Ray Kelly does a pretty good job. Did he cross the line with his statement?
It is possible that he did, however, it would also seem that he may have been reacting to the pressure of the press and not so much giving his personal view on the matter. At least I would hope he would remain objective until the investigation is complete. Unfortunately, cops are often their own worse enemies.”
R. Peloquin (Still on the job)

" I think Ray Kelly already convicted the officer, and found him guilty. Kelly should of just told the press he has no comment until the investigation is complete. Officer neri probably thinks he doesn't have any support or backing from his command since those comments were made.”
T. Curtis ( still on the job)

Who of us including Commissioner Kelly who has worked in any inner city Police Department in this country knowing the risk of turning that corner, pushing that door open or walking with your back against the wall ascending a dark stairway to a roof not knowing what could come next could judge our split second reaction to that situation? Only someone who has never been in that position or someone who has conveniently forgotten it, shame on you Commissioner Kelly for your quick condemnation before a full and complete investigation or a confession of guilt from Officer Neri for the use of one of the few words that could fuel the race fires again in our city. The only winners now will be the appeased community leaders, media and the special interest groups. I doubt very much when Officer Neri left his home and family that day he said to himself today I'm going to ruin my life and my families life by taking another. I would bet he ask his God to just get him through the 8 hour shift uneventfully.”
Joe Marino Retired NYPD

you know yourself that roof tops in high crime areas always have been difficult to patrol and control. I would love for any civilian to patrol a roof top in one of these areas. How about Parkhill on New Years Eve at midnight when the local hoods fire their weapons from the rooftop.
If you recall, the S.I. Advance had an article several years ago about some of my squad members were driving by Stapleton Houses when they responded to "shots fired" Where were they coming from??? The roof of course. My fellow officers were trapped near the roof and ESU had to get them out.
If there is a policy change on not being able to have your weapon readily available to patrol or "vertical" a rooftop, then these patrols should be suspended. It would be too much of a risk for an officer not be able to use a tool of his trade.
If the public is worried about "unjustified shootings" on rooftops or the streets, then they should tell their punk kids not to hang out on the roofs or play games teasing the cops by making motions towards their waistbands.

Maybe the P.D. should repeatedly televise the civilian academy and show the public what it is and how difficult situations and responsive tactics are in the street for cops.
This officer, Neri, I'm certain didn't set out that day to shoot anyone. It was a mistake not homicide. The Grand Jury I hope looks at the facts and the letter of the law. This officer would have to have committed this act Willfully, knowingly and "INTENTIONALLY"
To all, be well and safe”

Erik "P" Retired NYPD Detective

“Dear Ed
The Retired Sergeants Association is shocked and saddened by Police Commissioner Kelly’s apparent rush to judgment regarding Police Officer Richard Neri’s shooting incident. We would have hoped that he would have waited for the results of his own Department’s investigation into this incident. We had thought more of Commissioner Kelly. On behalf of the members of the Retired Sergeants Association we are deeply disappointed with his actions in this matter and hope Police Officer Neri will still be afforded the absolute right to a fair and unbiased investigation.”

Patsy A. Noto

Patrick F. Walsh
Financial Secretary


The response to “Ray Kelly Takes the Heat” have elicited postings from both active and retired members of the NYPD. All forum responses will be posted as they are received.   In coming days, the grand jury will be convened to hear testimony from witnesses.

The Brooklyn District Attorney will present the facts to a grand jury to determine if Police Officer Richard Neri will be indicted or not. A new witness has been located that may have information that will assist the DA and the grand jury in its findings.  Pending the outcome of the grand jury hearings, maybe we should review just what grand juries must determine in order to render an indictment against a defendant.

I am not an attorney, and I don’t presume to offer legal advice to anyone. That being said, as a private citizen of these United States of America, I do have the right to express my opinion on the legal system.
I have testified before grand juries during my years with the NYPD.  Here in New York State we have the grand jury system.  This system can have the benefit of attenuating the effects of political corrrectness.  The clamoring of the community for speedy “justice” or by those with political agendas can bring great pressure to bear on our elected officials. That pressure should not enter the grand jury room.

All states do not have this system.  Thank God that we do have it here.  I say that because a Grand Jury is composed of 23 jurors.  By contrast, there are just 6 jurors in misdemeanor trial cases, and 12 jurors in a felony trial case.  Grand jury hearings are “ex parte” hearings. That is, “one sided”, meaning only the prosecution gets to present the evidence against a defendant. It is unusual for defendants to give sworn testimony before Grand Juries.  Such testimony is given without immunity from prosecution. The Grand Jury hearings are not public like a courtroom trial or hearing.  Those 23 jurors listen to testimony from witnesses, examine evidence, and are guided by the district attorney regarding rules of evidence.  They can ask clarifying questions of both witnesses and the district attorney. 

Grand juries can indict, but they cannot acquit or convict.  That only happens after trial.  They must not be used as a political remedy for social unrest.  They must not indict a defendant to assuage the grief and sorrow of the community.  They must only indict upon finding that the conduct of the defendant constituted a crime.  That issue becomes even more critical when the defendant is a public official such as a police officer.

What is the most important factor when determining if conduct is criminal? The answer is the “culpable mental state” of the defendant.  In the Penal Law of the State of New York, there are four types of criminally culpable mental states.. (See Section 15) :

1. Intentionally.  That is, it is the “conscious objective” to cause the result;
2. Knowingly.  The actor is “aware” that his conduct is criminal;
3. Recklessly.  The actor is “aware of and consciously disregards” an unjustifiable risk, and his actions is a “gross deviation” from the standard of conduct that a reasonable person would observe;
4. Criminal Negligence.  He “fails to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk” and his failure to perceive it is a “gross deviation” from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe.

Anyone who has informed himself about the facts surrounding the shooting incident on the roof of 385 Lexington Avenue in the 79th Precinct knows that none of the culpable mental states listed above apply to the actions of Officer Neri.  The crime statistics of the 79th Precinct reveal a high level of violent crime.  The circumstances surrounding this shooting indicate that the officers were acting in a reasonable manner when they patrolled the rooftops of Louis Armstrong Houses.  Their “conduct” could not be construed as a “gross deviation of conduct or care” as defined in the Penal Law.   Time will reveal why Officer Neri discharged his weapon.  It the actions of the shooting victim contributed in some way to that action, we will learn that too. 

If the shooting is found to have been accidental, There are civil remedies for that. We read every day of incidents where lives are lost by the actions of another.  Let us not light a fire so hot against another that we get burned ourselves.  Who among us are completely safe from being charged with homicide when we drive our vehicles and cause the death of another in an “accident”? Because the death has been caused by a handgun instead of a vehicle, isn’t the victim just as dead?  Absent “gross deviation” from the standard of conduct or care, such accidents do happen. 

Copyright 2004 Edward D Reuss




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