NYPD Commissioner Bratton retaliated against Sen. Ted Cruz’s comments about increasing surveillance on Muslims.
On a Facebook post, the presidential hopeful said on March 22 that law officials should have the power to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.”
He also said the United States should stop the intake of refugees that come from countries where ISIS has a significant presence, and criticized Europe’s “failed immigration policy.”
Cruz’s remarks came hours after the Brussels attacks that killed 31 and injured hundreds. Bombs were detonated by three suicide bombers at the Brussels airport and metro system, to which ISIS claimed responsibility for shortly after.
Cruz applauded the former NYPD program that applied surveillance to Muslim neighborhoods after the 9/11 attacks. Authorities infiltrated dozens of mosques and Muslim student groups and investigated hundreds of them. The program was shut down after complaints of racial and religious profiling.
Shortly after Cruz’s comments the NYPD spokesman shot back on Twitter.
Hey, @tedcruz are our nearly 1k Muslim officers a “threat” too? It’s hard to imagine a more incendiary, foolish statement
— J. Peter Donald (@JPeterDonald) March 23, 2016
During a press conference with Mayor de Blasio and Bratton, the commissioner also responded against Cruz’s remarks.
“I would remind the senator he lives in the United States of America,” said Bratton, “and the statements he made today is why he’s not going to become president of this country—because we don’t need a president that doesn’t respect the values that form the foundation of this country.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio concurred with Bratton.
“I just have to say it’s reprehensible. His comments are not about safety and security. It’s demagoguery,” said de Blasio, according to Politico New York.
He also pointed that the NYPD force includes 900 Muslim-American cops and said there are “peace-loving, law-abiding Muslim Americans in neighborhoods all over New York City” and that they “should be respected like all other members of our community.”
“I take great offense at his characterization of that whole population,” said Bratton, who also noted the hundreds of Muslims-Americans risking their lives in the NYPD and in combats overseas.
“The senator basically is really out of line with his comments,” he added.
Meanwhile, Muslim groups have condemned the senator’s comments and proposals. They said that attacks perpetrated by Islamic extremists and the intense rhetoric from presidential candidates have caused resentment towards American Muslims.
In Washington, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said the Muslim community “is one of our greatest partners in our fight against terrorism and public safety generally,” when asked about the demands to increase surveillance in Muslim communities.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.