Police Commissioner Kelly Downplays Officers’ Dirty Dancing At West Indian Day Parade

Mayor Bloomberg Seconds That Notion, Says They Will Be Admonished

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Tuesday that he wishes some officers caught on tape getting their groove on at the West Indian Day Parade hadn’t joined in on the provocative dancing but said he also didn’t want to make too much of it.

The raunchy video of the three uniformed police officers has gone viral and prompted an investigation within the NYPD. So far, none of the officers have been accused of breaking any laws.

1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reports

The video depicts scantily clad women who were participating in the colorful parade approaching the officers and dancing with them. The officers, who can be seen smiling and laughing, appear to get caught up in the moment.

Kelly told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer it’s not unusual for officers patrolling the parade route to get drawn in to the rowdy spirit of the celebration.

“These young women approached the officers. You know, they didnt go out of their way to, you know, be approached like this,” Kelly said.

Photos: West Indian Day Parade

Mayor Michael Bloomberg agreed, saying he’s willing to chalk the entire incident up to bad judgment.

“On the carnival days people get carried away and celebrate in a demonstrative ways. I think it’s also fair to say there’s probably a little bit of poor judgment. We’ll admonish them to be a little more carefull and diplomatic and whatever the right word is you fill it in,” Bloomberg said.

Professor Eugene O’Donnell, of John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former cop, told Kramer the Department should use the incident as a teachable moment.

“Certainly there are some snippets there that are going to be things I’m sure the cops wish they could call back, but people are susceptible to that kind of thing when you are in a public role and you are in uniform, so it sort of makes you more of a target,” O’Donnell said.

Oneka Labennett, a professor of African American studies at Fordham, said the interaction of the dancers with the cops was a normal part of the parade.

“I didn’t see it as socially inappropriate, if we think about West Indian dancing and what it signifies. I think when it becomes problematic for us is when we look at it through an American lens,” Labennett said.

Some folks may find the dirty dancing in the video graphic, as little is left to the imagination.

The video has gone viral, and prompted an explosion of comments from viewers.

“I think that is totally wrong. They should’ve been standing by observing. There could’ve been a fight, anything,” Dahlia Clarke told CBS 2’s Emily Smith.

Garmel Martin of Brooklyn is somewhat surprised by the video.

“They do get up on people and dance, but I’ve seen officers walk away,” Martin said. “But that right there, what I just saw, is ridiculous.”

Other folks have a different point of view.

“I see nothing wrong with it,” wrote a commenter on our website who identified himself as “Englishman.” “The guy is having some fun that is why everyone there to have a day of fun,” he wrote.

Commenter “Linda” agreed.

“Good grief, some people really need to lighten up and get a life,” she wrote. “Stop it already, the cops did nothing wrong.”

On our Facebook page, Marilyn Hurtado wrote “When you’re on duty in uniform, this is a no no.”

Elisabeth Kehoe wrote “I think they need to be professional. It seems that it was all in fun, but they took it a little too far.”

We’d like to hear what you think about the video. Sound off in our comments section below.

  • Daniel Goodine


  • edy

    Police officers should act professionally & not ghetto as clearly demonstrated in this video. But once again, this is NYC.

  • tony

    cops have a life too

    • LG

      Yes, a private one and a public one. This “life” is for the “off-duty” times.

  • Bonnie Rice

    seriously? i cannot believe what one sided reporting cbs 2 did on this.. i was really dissa pointed in you, i held you to a higher standard, the only on the street opinions you aired were negative.. what happened to being un biased? bad form…. they didnt do anything wrong, they really only had a bit of fun.. in a smaller town where i live we just would have laughed, because there the cops are our friends… here people fear the police…. maybe if the show their human side once in awhile, the public would bond a bit…you didnt help that now did you?

  • ROB


  • M.M. Jr.

    The low brain idiots that think this in not wrong for on duty police
    to be humping a dancer know nothing about:
    #1 , A police officer is an officer of the court.
    #2 Ray Kelly at his age in not trained in cameradynamics as message.
    One frame of a video blown up can make an otherwise innocent dance
    look like wild sex ,with a cop on duty in uniform that image extracted is
    almost laughable and looks perverse. Where is the professional disciple?
    Back to the legal definition ,that a cop is an officer of the court…

  • colosg

    What is wrong with the women playing around the NYPD officers…This has been going on for years at the West Indian Labor Day parade “all in good fun”, and people at the parade including yours truly see no malice..The dancers are the people who approach the police officers..These parades are held in Canada you see the same exact dancing with women around the Canadian police, in Miami, no uproar and criticism of the police, in Boston, same show, in Washington, same show and in Trinidad and Tobago the birthplace of this Carnival, no problem….As far as we are concerned the NYPD officers are familiar with the West Indian Labor Day Parade,and it is a pleasure to see them tapping their feet to the music every now and then, and getting a friendly hug from the band dancers every now and then….We love our NYPD officers, they are the best…
    …What does some of the complainers want the NYPD officers to do????Arrest
    the dancers?……I hope Commissioner Kelly do not fall for these dotish complaints, and just to conclude we in the West Indian community also love our Commissioner Kelly.

  • Concerned Cit

    They should not be fired but made an example of by a 30 day suspension or lost of vacation days. This is unprofessional and god forbid something would have happened at that exact time, they were NOT available to protect and serve. They were thinking with the wrong head!

    If this were to happen at my job, the offender would have been let go on the spot. Come on Mayor/Commish, step up and be a REAL boss for once and show some punishment. Don’t wash it under the table like everything else!

    We tax payers pay the salary for the dancing cop and I demand some lite punishment be given.

  • Janice Yodica

    give them a break , they were having a little fun, would you rather have angry cops with chips on their shoulders? you can’t win, you can’t lose.
    on a side note, what about smobama? print a kabillion dollars at the printing press and fix da schools and da roads – is he kidding me? a nine year old could have come up with that one. How about de regulate and get out of the way? I hope the government shuts down, trim the federal and state workforce to a pittance.

  • Rob

    Shows a total lack of professionalism. They should be suspended.

  • LG

    “Oneka Labennett, a professor of African American studies at Fordham, said the interaction of the dancers with the cops was a normal part of the parade.

    “I didn’t see it as socially inappropriate, if we think about West Indian dancing and what it signifies. I think when it becomes problematic for us is when we look at it through an American lens,” Labennett said.”

    Just what exactly does bumping and grinding signify in the West Indian culture other than…well…bumping and grinding?

  • Fartboy

    Doesn’t anyone question why the women felt it was necessary to do that in the first place to a cop while he’s on duty?

    • Liv

      I believe that an officers should always carry themselves in a dignify and professional manner……I don’t believe they should be penalize but, this incident should be used by the academy as an example for poor judgement and unacceptable behavior…: )

  • Ray Kellly is Michael Bloombrg!

    Ray Kelly is responsible for the downfall of the NYPD. Have you forgotten that you are a Former Marine, Commissioner?The Officers behavior was disgusting and unacceptable. He showed disrespect for the women of Brooklyn and Brooklyn itself by dry humping passing women as they paraded by. Maybe next time some one is going to get a ticket or arrested they should ask the Police Officer to dry hump them and then let them free. You are a joke commissioner, it’s time to go.

  • Kildee Moolies

    Do we really need parades anymore? Better yet, do we need to have a digital camera in everybody’s hand? So many ugly people in the world, do they need to be photographed? Can’t you all just go look in a mirror? This is not vital news.

  • pete

    Unprofessional, BUT in no way is it as big of a deal as its being made out to be. This isn’t the first video like this that has surfaced, and it won’t be the last. It happens every year.

  • Mel

    How a bout focussing on the dozens that get stabbed and shot each year at this parade. The amount of violence that occurs ruins the carnival spirited atmosphere!

    • jay Pee

      I agree with Mel; every year someone either gets shot, stabbed or killed; guaranteed. The cops should be watching the crazy crowd instead of butt dancing.. The entire parade should be called off in the future. It wastes too much tax payers dollars. I am sure most of the participants are on welfare and do not pay taxes..
      Good ridence

  • ericm

    This is such a non-story, it’s comical. Stop already.

  • Kenneth Moreno Retired NYPD

    The officer in question should have escorted the drunk female home and check in on her afterwards….

  • Turtle

    Lighten up. The world is s full of craziness, stress and the pressure to constantly he pc Five minutes of levity is not a big deal

  • Elvis Recardo

    Much-ado-about-nada!!! Would we be having this conversation if the officers were at non-minority event? In a time where cooperation with the PD could be better, I do not see how this hurts community relations. Nothing unsafe here either. Move on people; it is special elections day. Do something productive. Go vote for Turner!!!

  • max

    It is hard to see what the officer is doing
    It does look like he is gyrating into the womens butt and that is inappropriate
    If he was just moving to the music it would be fine
    Either way it is not a tragedy and the officers should be able to move and groove like normal people and not stand there all authoritative and looking like statues

  • Peter

    It appears he is poking her with his nightstick!!!!

  • Evelyn Katz Clark

    I don’t see anything wrong with what happend.People need to stop being so up tight. I think some people just don’t like anything that officers do if they walked away people would say they have no community relations. So they had alittle fun big deal get over it !!! Go to a club and see how people dance

  • Vic

    I agree with you Commish Kelly, no harm done. The cops did not approach the dancers, the participants approached the cops and started to dance with them in a festive way at a festive event. No harm done, everyone laughing and having a good time. I guess the people here who are so uptight would have preferred the cops to beat them with billy clubs then we would have a different headline of police brutality. Chill people.

    • Justin

      Agreed with Susan. The officers made 2 big mistakes. One was not being alert and being distracted easily by a bunch of dancers, which could’ve been easily avoided without any “beating with billy clubs/police brutality”.(Wasn’t there a shooting the same day at the same event?) The second mistake was showing the community how unprofessional they were. I would’ve asked myself incredulously “Are THESE the people who protect me?”
      What about all those children who wanted to grow up to become police officers? What kind of examples are the officers setting? What would the kids think if they saw that? Not a good image if you ask me.

    • Susan

      No, we prefer them to act professionally and be worthy of the respect they demand from the public.

  • diver

    Why is this even newsworthy?

  • Von

    I rather see a few cops having fun with the community, than 20-30 NYC firefighters drinking in uniform at a Staten Island bar on 9/11

  • Chrisie

    And these idiots wonder why they don’t get any respect.

    • CT Native

      When confronted by a rapist, make sure you don’t call one of those “idiots”.

      • lack of dignity

        just make sure it’s not officers Moreno or Mata

  • Jaded

    Having been a public servant, I know all too well the image that one must convey while on the job (and sometimes off of it if you’re recognizable in the neighborhood). I’m not one to knock other public servants since most of those jobs are very tough to do and the urge to have even a little fun is ever-present but often forbidden. However, while they didn’t break any laws, what they did was flat-out unprofessional and could have caused a bit more conflict in the street amidst the fun. You never know who’s there, who’s watching, or who’s going to snap. In this Information Age, it’s just dumb to believe your actions won’t be publicly scrutinized if it’s out of character. If you’re a public servant, don’t perform a certain behavior at all if you wouldn’t perform it in front of your direct supervisor(s).

  • Frostie

    Get over it, they were getting along with people, made for good
    community relations.
    The tragedy here is that this is even news.

  • Whybothertryin

    I am not a person that blindly sides with police officers but anyone offended by this is just looking for something to be offended by or anything to make police officers look bad. Time and time again you hear people complaining about police distancing themselves from communities but here you have some officers trying to show the community they can get along with them and you still have people complaining. These “incidents” lasted all of about 15 seconds, oh the horror!

    • Pplrfunny

      Could not agree more. I think this is just more cop-bashing by the media. If the woman dancing up on the cop had been pushed away from him instead, than people would be screaming that the cops had no respect and that he should lose his job, blah blah blah… they were having a little fun, who cares? I am sure if a call came in, they wouldn’t just keep dancing..

      • Vik

        Agreed – as for those women, put some clothes on! It didn’t look attractive then and you didn’t look attractive rump humping authority. You looked ridiculous. Desperate. And just plain dumb.

    • Frascati66

      I agree 100%!! It happened, it’s over. Life goes on!!

    • Schmellma Arss

      Yeah, but it involved ass!!!!!!!!

    • LV

      I completely agree. Some people just want to make a big deal over nothing.

    • Susan

      They could have smiled and declined to dance. The police should act in a professional manner – they can do so and still not distance them from the community. It becomes harder and harder to view the police in a positive light when they act unprofessionally.

    • Harry Veneer

      the obvious problem here is only safety. imagine some reached for their exposed gun, whille they danced. Then this turns into a problem.

      • Michael H.

        Duty holsters are specifically designed for retention. In other words, a police officer’s holster is designed with certain features to prevent somebody from just reaching over and grabbing the gun from them.

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