Thanks to Chief Philip Banks III, the New York City Police force is having a huge shakeup.
Newsday is reporting that Banks, in line for the first Deputy Commissioner position and the highest ranking uniformed official in the police department, abruptly resigned from his position Friday. He also redacted his acceptance of the first Deputy Commissioner he had accepted from Commissioner William J. Bratton.
Banks, a 28-year veteran and the highest ranking black official, told Commissioner Bratton of his intentions just minutes before a scheduled 9 a.m. weekly meeting with him, Bratton, and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.
“It is with great regret that I’m going to accept that resignation,” Bratton said at City Hall to a throng of reporters. “I think the world of Chief Banks. He’s been a very able, capable and loyal partner to me over these last 10 months.”
Many city officials are expressing concern over the racial diversity of the higher-ranking officials in the department.
Several incidents, including the death of an unarmed man, Eric Garner, who died allegedly due to a police chokehold, revived fears that marked the strained relationship between the black and latino communities and former Commissioner Ray Kelly.
De Blasio released a statement that he was “disappointed” about Banks’ departure. City Council members Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn) and Vanessa L. Gibson (D-Bronx) released a joint statement that they were “extremely disturbed” that the city was losing a leader who gave “a responsive ear to all communities.”
The New York Times is reporting that Banks was taking the first Deputy Commissioner position after former Deputy Commissioner Rafeal Piniero retired last month. Many Hispanid police leaders felt that Piniero was forced out of his position.
The departures of Banks and Piniero is a devastating blow to Bratton and de Blasio, who have been calling for renewed cooperation between the police department and minorities, including calling for the end of the “stop and frisk” tactics.
One possible reason for Banks’ resignation is he, like many in the department, felt the Deputy Commissioner position was more administrative figurehead than anything. According to a person close to the discussions, who asked for anonymity because of the delicacy of the negotiations, Banks and Bratton were negotiating to add more responsibilities to the Deputy Commissioner position, but both sides reached an impasse. A few days later, Banks resigned for “professional reasons.”
Though the position of first Deputy Commissioner is still unfilled, Bratton has chose James P. O’Neill, who currently heads the 18,000-strong patrol force.
[Image courtesy of Business Insider/Twitter]