Ray Kelly
David Karp  /  AP file
New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly speaks at a September 2006 ceremony at the French consulate in New York in which he received the Legion d'Honneur, one of France's most prestigious awards. A prisoner is alleged to have hatched a plot to behead Kelly.
NBC News
By Ron Allen Correspondent
NBC News
updated 3/6/2007 4:03:07 PM ET 2007-03-06T21:03:07
REPORTER'S NOTEBOOK

NEW YORK — "Thug Offered Big Bucks to Whack Kelly" — that's how New York's Daily News put it. Gotta love those headline writers.

Can you imagine a prisoner at Riker's Island orchestrating a plot to kill New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, by beheading him? Police say the inmate is charged with offering an undercover officer $15,000 to kill Kelly and $50-thousand-dollars to blow-up One Police Plaza. a 14-story heavily fortified building sitting just above Manhattan's Financial District?

Anything is possible. And this plot would qualify under "anything."

All threats serious
The case offers a couple of insights into the NYPD. For one, it shows that they take this, and probably dozens of other schemes like it, quite seriously. They have to. In our post 9/11 world, in a place as crazy and bizarre as New York City can be.

It's also interesting that after getting a tip about the plot, they used an undercover cop to check it out. Kelly often has said intelligence is the key to preventing crime and its much deadlier cousin, terrorism. I have more than a feeling there are legions of undercover police around New York City, perhaps even some of those homeless-looking people on the streets.

NYPD also was concerned because the alleged plotter, David Brown, 47, said he was angry about a volatile case involving five officers who killed an unarmed motorist named Sean Bell in a hail of 50 bullets a few months ago. The Bell case has been an extremely emotional case here, with some accusing the cops of excessive force and racism, the latter a real flashpoint in this city.

In a taped phone and in-person interviews at Rikers Island prison last month, Brown is said to have told the undercover officer that he was "fed up with the case where the guy got shot 50 times," referring to the Bell incident. Brown blamed Kelly for not prosecuting the officers.

This week a grand jury is continuing to investigate the deadly shooting and deciding whether the cops should be prosecuted. The officers are supported by their union and lawyers, who have said they thought the men in the car had guns.

Bizarre case, even for a bizarre city
It's all quite bizarre in a city where the bizarre can seem rather commonplace.

The plotter is already in jail, already with 30 convictions on his record, including a handful of felonies and a conviction for trying to kill his wife.

Don't expect to see him on the streets of this crazy city, anytime soon.

Ron Allen is an NBC News Correspondent. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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