How an undercover cop thwarted an assassination attempt on former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly

Former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly is speaking publicly for the first time about a Rikers Island inmate plot to decapitate himself and bomb police headquarters 16 years ago.

But Kelly wasn’t scared, the NYPD’s longest-serving commissioner told The Post in an interview ahead of a new A&E docuseries detailing how authorities foiled the 2007 scheme.

“We got this guy found, and he’s in jail,” Kelly, 81, said, recalling the David Brown Jr. program.

“I felt relieved,” Kelly, who led the department between 2002 and 2013, said cooly. “That really didn’t make me happy. You may not want to hear this, but that is what it is.

The horrifying plot was eventually stopped thanks to the work of an undercover agent – with Kelly hailing him and the other detectives as unsung heroes.

David Brown Jr. he also wanted to bomb the One Police Plaza, which he called the “information capital” of the NYPD.
Todd Barron/NY Post

Brown, a 47-year-old convicted felon in Brooklyn, told undercover NYPD Det. Chuck Byam said he was outraged by the November 2006 police killing of Sean Bell, who was shot on the morning of his unarmed wedding.

He blamed Kelly for the incident — and wanted the top cop fired as punishment and the NYPD headquarters at One Police Plaza bombed, he said. And he agreed to pay $165,000 to get the job.

“Well, what I need to do is kill the police commissioner — I want him killed,” Brown told Byam in the first episode of “Undercover: Caught on Tape,” which airs Thursday.

“I can’t take it anymore,” Brown continued on the recording, according to the recording shared with The Post.

“Every time something happens, the way the police commissioner supports the police. This made me so frustrated that I wanted to kill him.”

Byam, a now retired 25-year NYPD veteran who was interviewed for the series, said: “This guy’s got some balls.”

Ray Kelly being interviewed.
Kelly said he was glad Byam, the undercover cop, was there to foil the plot.

“It’s not that he wants to kill a drug dealer, or a rival. He wants to kill the New York City Police Commissioner,” Byam said. “That’s a big one.”

Byam, who is black, added that although he understood the anger of the police killing black people, it did not cause another killing.

“I don’t see how you can enjoy yourself wanting to take another person’s life,” he said in the episode.

Brown’s threats were different from the standard anonymous phone calls, Kelly told The Post.

“The difference here is we know who this guy is … We know he’s violent and we know he has money,” Kelly said. “He has a house worth at least 400,000 dollars, so he is different from other threats. That’s when we decided to use private information.”

Byam had two tape recorders in his pocket for the robotics meeting at Rikers Island on February 23, 2007, where the two would prepare the game.

Brown told Byam that he needed Kelly killed immediately: “I want his head cut off,” he was heard saying, according to the report.

Brown continued: “I need people to feel my anger and rage.” “Every second of every day he lives, he burns my soul. I take it personally whenever he ignores some of the things that are going on.”

Ray Kelly
David Brown Jr. he told an undercover policeman that he wanted Kelly’s head cut off.
Chad Rachman/New York Post

Then, Brown asks if Byam can get explosives to take out NYPD HQ.

“I want it to explode,” he told Byam, adding that he was “the world’s biggest source of information for the entire police department.”

“I want to feel like a terrorist,” Brown said. “I want them to feel like I’m the mother of terrorists, you know?”

Despite the perpetrator’s claims, Byam concluded that the conspiracy behind the 9/11 attacks had nothing to do with actual terrorists overseas. He is just one man with a strong vendetta.

The two reached an agreement on paying the money, shook hands, and then left, said the program.

This is all the authorities need. Brown was arrested and charged with two counts of solicitation, ultimately serving an additional six years in prison.

“I made a difference in ordinary, everyday New Yorkers — I made a difference in their lives,” Byam said. “Even though they’ll never know I’m responsible for it, I still feel good about the difference I made in New York City.”

Kelly was reportedly never in direct danger during the program.
Kelly was reportedly never in direct danger during the program.

People noticed, though. Then-President Barack Obama sent the detective a letter of congratulations, and New York Senator Chuck Schumer sent him a flag to fly over the state capitol in his honor, Byam told The Post.

“I felt very proud,” he said in an interview last week. “The fact that I was still alive when I got the flag – that’s really a proud moment for me, an exciting moment.”

Kelly has reportedly never been in any direct danger. Brown, who has 30 convictions, is mentally ill and confined to a wheelchair.

Still, Kelly told The Post that he was “really happy [Byam] he’s there.”

“He did a great job,” Kelly said. “You know, you don’t think about these things in the normal business world … but when you’re faced with something with these detailed, specific threats, then it gives you reason to worry.”

He also praised the undercover police as the unsung heroes who work in the dark and pay the bribes.

“[Byam] it’s part of the work that police officers do every day,” Kelly said.

“They protect all of us by putting their lives on the line.”

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