One Police Plaza

White Boys and Black Women

September 10, 2018

While the white boys at the top of the NYPD quietly promoted their crony Paul Deentremont to deputy chief just months after he rescinded his retirement, the department last month promoted Donna Jones, proclaiming her the third black female assistant chief in department history.

As the department’s first black female assistant chief, Kim Royster, put it: “It’s another historical woman.”

Well, that’s one way to look at it. What Jones’s promotion actually reveals is the NYPD’s skill in conning the public, especially when it comes to black female promotions — so much so that even Mayor de Blasio and his supposedly police-centered wife Chirlane McCray apparently don’t get it.

Jones’s assignment is heading the Criminal Justice Bureau, which is a backwater dumping ground for discredited chiefs, much as the motor pool and the property clerks’ office are dumping grounds for discredited cops.

Back in the day, the Criminal Justice Bureau was merely a one-star deputy chief’s job. That was when the department culture held that if a chief ran afoul of his boss, he retired. That changed in the 1990s when two-star assistant chief Rafael Pineiro and three-star Chief of Detectives Charles Reuther were dumped there after running afoul of their boss, Chief of Department Louis Anemone. So you had then two-star chief Pineiro reporting to the three-star Reuther, with neither having any authority.

Jones, meanwhile had been commander of bureau for the past six months as a one-star deputy chief. [In the NYPD, a two-star assistant chief ranks above deputy chief.]

Says a former top cop, “They’ve increased her stars but not her responsibilities.”

Royster herself is an example of increased stars but fewer responsibilities. Her rise appears to owe as much to her perceived political connections as it does to her considerable abilities. When in Feb., 2014, two months after becoming mayor, de Blasio ordered the release of Bishop Orlando Findlayter, a prominent black minister and political supporter who had been arrested for two outstanding warrants, it was Royster — not Bratton — whom he called. [See NYPD Confidential Feb. 17, 2014.]

Royster was then the deputy chief and commanding officer of the Public Information Office, known as DCPI, which is a high-profile job. A year later she was transferred after complaints she had pushed out her top Hispanic subordinate, Deputy Inspector Fausto Pichardo, the highest-ranking Hispanic officer ever assigned to DCPI. His ouster was noted by the Spanish language newspaper El Diario and prompted a call to then Police Commissioner Bill Bratton from City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the city’s highest Hispanic elected official.  [See NYPD Confidential July 20, 2015.]

The wily Bratton then turned a potential dump into a promotion. He transferred Royster to the Personnel Bureau, gave her a second star as an assistant chief while announcing a new positon for her, heading a recruitment drive for minority officers. [See NYPD Confidential Aug. 3, 2015.]

Apparently the recruiting didn’t go so well. In 2017 she was transferred again, this time to the backwater Community Affairs Bureau, where she is currently its executive officer or number two.  She reports to the three-star Hispanic Chief, Nilda Hoffmann.

For the record, the Community Affairs Bureau is known in the department as a female, [whether black, white or Hispanic] track job. No white boys.

It’s been easy to poke fun at Bernie Kerik. There was his turn as police commissioner when following the 9/11 attack he became a rock star. There was his tempestuous love life with, among others, his publisher Judith Regan, who promoted, his autobiography “The Lost Son” onto the best-seller list. Then there was his conviction on corruption charges after which he spent four years in federal prison.

In the years since his release, he’s struggled to find his bearings. But he just may have found his voice. He’s written a novel, featuring Rick Raymond as NYPD commissioner and revolving around a current terrorist attack and it brims with detail that only an insider would know. 

“People think it’s easy to write fiction, but it’s not true,” Kerik said, sounding very much like a writer. He was speaking at the Empire Steak House in midtown last week, surrounded by a ton of law enforcement friends, some peripheral Trump people and former City Hall folk from the Giuliani days. [Rudy himself didn’t appear.]

Kerik’s novel, published by Humanix books, which is the brain child of Trump buddy Christopher Ruddy, is called “The Grave above the Grave.” It could be the beginning of a new life for Rick Raymond — and for Kerik.

Of course, the city’s 40th police commissioner isn’t the first person to reinvent himself as a novelist. Around the turn of the century there was a fellow named William Sydney Porter who spent five years in prison for embezzlement.  His short stories became classics. He went by the name of O. Henry.


Copyright © 2018 Leonard Levitt