By Ben Fractenberg and Julie Shapiro
LOWER MANHATTAN — Police Commissioner Ray Kelly played down the impact of the anti-Muslim film that the NYPD showed to nearly 1,500 new recruits, saying Friday the cops just saw it as "background noise."
The NYPD showed the controversial movie, "The Third Jihad," which portrays Islam as dangerous, in an outer room at a Brooklyn NYPD training facility that cops passed through to fill out paperwork, Kelly said.
"They could have paid attention to it, not paid attention to it," Kelly told reporters Friday. "They were [filling out] forms, that sort of thing. It was sort of like background noise."
Kelly was interviewed in the film, financed by the right-wing Clarion Fund, but said he did not watch it until Tuesday, when the news that the NYPD had shown it to so many officers first emerged.
"I think it's inflammatory and it's a little much," Kelly said Friday. "It was never approved…. I don't think it was any ill intent here, but it should not have been shown."
Still, Kelly said he did not believe the officers who saw the film need to be retrained.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg slammed the police this week for exercising "terrible judgment" in showing the film.
The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called for Kelly's resignation for his initially denying through a spokesman that he had participated in the film.
Kelly said Friday he believes the NYPD has an "excellent relationship" with the Muslim community, and he has no intention of resigning.
"You don’t make everyone happy in this job," Kelly said.