One Police Plaza

Who runs the NYPD?

November 10, 2014

Is it PC Bill Bratton?

Is it Mayor Bill de Blasio?

Is it his wife, Chirlane McCray, whom de Blasio has called his closest advisor?

Or, is it Al Sharpton?

Anyone who has followed the tumultuous events of the past two weeks might be justified in wondering which one.

The latest trouble started with the sudden retirement of Chief of Department Phil Banks, the highest-ranking African-American officer in the NYPD. Banks personified the department reform towards community oriented policing that de Blasio had promised during his Mayoral campaign.

Banks complained that his so-called promotion to First Deputy limited his authority. His retirement followed by less than two months Bratton's forcing out of the department's highest ranking Hispanic officer, Rafael Pineiro.

Banks's abrupt resignation led to articles in the New York Post, saying that de Blasio had criticized Bratton for “blind-siding” him and that McCray had said to de Blasio about Bratton, “I told you we couldn't trust him.”

Bratton then selected Benjamin Tucker, the African-American Deputy Commisisoner of Training to replace Banks, The Post reported that de Blasio told Bratton to “keep looking” for someone other than Tucker.

Granted that the Post is, well, the Post. And that the quotes of the Mayor and his wife were unattributed. And that de Blasio, Bratton and McCray each denied the Post's quotes. Bratton and de Blasio made out that they were tight as ticks, and McCray suggested the Post's statements were due to a lack of “diversity.”

Still, de Blasio acknowledged that, after Bratton gave him the name of Tucker, he phoned Sharpton, who said he was just about to enter — where else but — the White House, and ran Tucker's name by him.”

Justifying his call to Sharpton, the Mayor said that Sharpton was the nation's most prominent civil rights leader. He ignored the fact that Sharpton is also the most polarizing figure in the city and is despised at all levels of the police department.

We already know that Sharpton's former spokeswoman, Rachel Noerdlinger, is McCray's chief of staff. We also know that she violated city rules by failing to list in her disclosure form that she lives with a convicted murderer and drug-dealer who has posted anti-police rants and racked up hundreds of dollars in parking fines while driving Noerdlinger to and from work.

No big deal, said de Blasio of these lapses.

Bratton's supporters made out that he had successfully manoevered his way through this racial thicket.

“We won,” said a Bratton supporter. “Bratton got rid of Banks who he felt was an impediment to his running the department.”

They added that Bratton was shrewd enough to have someone make a call to the White House — where Tucker had worked for Obama — and that the White House then called de Blasio saying that Tucker was legit.

Bratton himself said that, despite calls for his resignation, “I'm not going anywhere. For those trying to push me out the door, you'd better start pushing harder.”

For those watching the past couple of weeks' events, one had to wonder how long he meant it for.


Copyright © 2014 Leonard Levitt