NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Police Commissioner Bill Bratton says the NYPD is struggling to find black officers, along with many other cities in the country.

But he was not pleased Tuesday night with an article in The Guardian saying the NYPD has trouble recruiting African-American men because so many have criminal records, and suggesting that the stop and frisk program was to blame.

In the Guardian article, Bratton was quoted as saying, “We have a significant population gap among African American males because so many of them have spent time in jail and, as such, we can’t hire them.”

Felony convictions automatically disqualify potential applicants from the police force. Misdemeanor summonses do not, but they are taken into account for applications, the publication reported.

Bratton was quoted as blaming the “unfortunate consequences” of an explosion in stop and frisk incidents.

He also blamed a strained relationship between police and minority communities.

But speaking to CBS2, Bratton said, “We are making a mountain out of a mole hill. The Guardian report was incorrect and we are demanding a retraction.”

Bratton said he made the comments, but they were taken out of context.

Meanwhile, as 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon reported, Public Advocate Letitia James said Bratton can take action if he thinks criminal background checks are preventing a more diverse NYPD.

“People who are otherwise qualified to be police officers should have their minor infractions forgiven,” she said.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has another idea. The former NYPD captain said he wants to hear what Bratton has to say about easier access to the NYPD for hospital police and school safety agents.

He called them “the minor league of city law enforcement.”

“We should allow that minor league to be able to take the NYPD exam after they complete two years of observation,” Adams said.

He said the majority of hospital police and school safety agents are minorities, and their work experience should count in lieu of higher education requirements to join the police force.

Adams told CBS2 low-level marijuana arrests were also a major problem.

“I believe we have witnessed an over aggressive targeted behavior on those low-level marijuana offenses that turned into misdemeanors based on the policies that we have carried out in the city, and this has given a lot of black men police records,” he said.

Critics also said the broken windows policy that Bratton continues to champion has also contributed to the large number of people of color with criminal records.