Former New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly speaks out publicly for the first time about a Rikers Island inmate’s plot to behead him and bomb the NYPD police station in 2007.
David Brown Jr., a 47-year-old Brooklyn felon, had wanted to hire a hit man to kill and dismember Kelly, who ran the NYPD from 2002 to 2013.
Brown was outraged by the November 2006 police killing of Sean Bell, who was shot unarmed on the morning of his wedding.
Brown blamed Kelly for the incident and wanted him beheaded as punishment and for him to bomb the NYPD headquarters at One Police Plaza. Brown was so determined that he would be willing to pay $165,000 to get the job done.
An undercover cop, Chuck Byam, who is now a retired 25-year NYPD veteran, was interviewed for a new A&E docu-series called “Undercover: Caught on Tape,” which details how authorities foiled the 2007 plan.
Former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has spoken out about a 2007 plot by Rikers Island inmate David Brown Jr. to behead him and bomb police headquarters
Kelly shared how Brown had been identified as the suspect and that he was in jail on Rikers Island at the time, so he felt relatively safe. The plot did not frighten him too much
Kelly said the chilling plot was ultimately thwarted thanks to the work of the undercover cop, whom he hailed as an unsung hero.
Kelly shared how the 47-year-old Brown had been identified and that he was in jail at the time, so he felt relatively safe and the plot didn’t worry him too much.
“We had identified this man and he was in jail,” Kelly, now 81, said in the documentary. “I felt relatively safe. It actually didn’t shock me that much. You probably don’t want to hear that, but that was about it.’
However, Kelly acknowledged that the confrontation with the threat and the level of detail it contained still caused him concern.
According to Kelly, the threat was different from a more standard sinister but anonymous phone call.
“The difference here was we knew who this person was… We knew he was violent and we knew he had money. He had a house worth at least $400,000, so it was different from the other threats. Then we decided to go undercover.’ Kelly explained.
Undercover officer Byam had some tape recorders in his pockets for the face-to-face meeting, in which he was recorded asking if he could get hold of explosives to blow up NYPD headquarters, pictured above
Brown was a violent person who had money and owned a house worth at least $400,000.
The authorities decided to try to deploy an undercover agent to investigate the plot.
Officer, Byam, went to Rikers Island on February 23, 2007 to meet with Brown to arrange the assassination attempt.
Unbeknownst to Brown, Byam had stashed some tape recorders in his pockets before the face-to-face meeting, during which he was recorded asking if he could possibly get hold of explosives to blow up NYPD headquarters.
“Well, what I have to do is get the police commissioner killed – I want him killed,” Brown told Byam on tape.
“I just can’t take it anymore. Every time something happens, how the police commissioner supports the police. Things like that got me so frustrated that I want him killed,” Brown continued.
Brown said he wanted to feel like a terrorist and wanted them to feel like he was a “bastard terrorist.”
“I need the people to feel my wrath and anger,” Brown told Byam. “Every second of every day he lives burns my soul. I take it personally every time he overlooks certain things that are happening.”
Despite Brown’s words, Byam concluded that the plot had nothing to do with an overseas terrorist group and was simply one man’s vendetta.
The two agreed on the payment, shook hands and Byam left.
“This man has balls.” Byam told A&E “Not that he wants to kill another drug dealer or rival. He wants to kill the New York City Police Commissioner. That’s big. I don’t understand how you feel comfortable trying to take someone’s life.’
Brown was then arrested again while in prison and charged with two charges, ultimately serving a further six years behind bars.
Brown was outraged by the November 2006 police killing of Sean Bell, pictured, who was shot while unarmed on the morning of his wedding
Brown had previously been convicted of the attempted murder of his wife in 2001 and was serving time for violating a protection order for the same woman.
He had also served seven years in prison between 1981 and 1988 for armed robbery.
Byam said he was honored to have made a difference in the lives of ordinary, everyday New Yorkers, though they would never know he was the one responsible.
“I’ve made a difference in ordinary, everyday New Yorkers”—I’ve made a difference in their lives. While they’ll never know I was the one responsible, I still feel good about the difference I made in New York City,” Byam said.
Then-President Barack Obama sent him a letter of congratulations, and New York Senator Chuck Schumer sent him a flag that flew over the nation’s Capitol in his honor.
Kelly praised undercover agents as unsung heroes who work in the dark with few rewards.
“He did a great job,” said Kelly. “You know, in the normal course of things you don’t think about that… but when you’re confronted with something with all those details, the specificity of the threat, it worries you.
“They’re protecting all of us by really putting their lives on the line,” Kelly said. He also acknowledged that Byam had done a great job and was happy to be there to foil the plot against him.