Williams, Gibson, & Elected Officials Respond to Resignation of NYPD Chief Banks

15701328711_4fbaf9e2b8_oPhotos by: William Alatriste

New York, NY: 11/3/14, Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn), Deputy Leader and Chair of the Council’s Housing and Buildings Committee, and Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson (D-Bronx), Chair of the Council’s Committee on Public Safety, were joined by State Assemblyman Karim Camara, Chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic & Asian Legislative Caucus, State Assemblyman Walter Mosley, members of the Council’s Black Latino and Asian Caucus and members of the Council’s Progressive Caucus, additional elected officials and advocacy groups during a press conference to voice their concern with the direction of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in light of Chief Philip Banks’ resignation, and called on the Administration to ensure that the needs of Black and Brown communities in New York City are not overlooked.

According to reports, Chief Banks reluctantly accepting a promotion to First Deputy Commissioner after threatening to resign amid ongoing friction over NYPD Commissioner William Bratton’s regime and the previous one under Ray Kelly. Banks’ resignation occurs nearly two months after the resignation of First Deputy Police Commissioner Rafael Pineiro, the highest-ranking Hispanic in the NYPD. Banks was promoted to Chief of Department in 2013 after a 28-year career with NYPD and was one of the highest ranking black law enforcement officials in New York City. Full Release

WHAT PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS MEMBERS SAY:

“Throughout Chief Banks’ tenure, his leadership has played a critical role in helping to navigate difficult relationships between NYPD and communities of more color as we attempted to deal with chronic issues in policing,” said Council Member Williams. “The resignation of the highest ranking Black and Latino officials in the department seems to provide a strong indication that much more work needs to be done within the NYPD. Ten months is not enough time to completely change a broken system, but it is enough time to see the direction being taken. I’m thankful that the Administration has shown a change in tone, willingness to listen and has taken identifiable steps toward change, but the time has come to move quicker from words to actions before the progress we’ve made is completely wiped away. ”

“The resignation of the two top ranking minority officials Chief Banks and First Deputy Pineiro is a clear indication of departmental instability at a time when our communities need leadership in police reform,” said Councilmen Donovan Richards and Antonio Reynoso, Co-Chairs of the Progressive Caucus. “It is detrimental that Black and Latino representation is being compromised when diversity and cultural competence is at the very root of the discriminatory practices the NYPD is being held accountable to address.”

“Chief Phillip Banks’ resignation is particularly concerning in light of what appears to be disturbingly unequal law enforcement practices throughout the City. We should all have the expectation that no matter what street we are walking down, no matter what neighborhood we live in, no matter the color of our skin, the accent of our speech, or the clothing we wear – that we are all afforded the same respect, the same civil rights, and treated equally when dealing with the NYPD. Whether you live in my district on the UWS or CM Williams’ or CM Gibson’s district – the expectation of conduct by the police when interacting with each and every one of our citizens must be the same. I expect and we should accept nothing less – under any circumstances,” said Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal. “Coming shortly on the heels of First Deputy Pineiro’s departure, Commissioner Bratton needs to take steps to assure all New Yorkers that day-to-day policing will adhere to standards of fairness and uniformity regardless of the borough and neighborhood where it takes place. Furthermore, the NYPD must be clear about whether or not NYPD First Deputy is a ceremonial position or not. If it is ceremonial, there is no reason that an experienced and trusted ‘boots-on-the-ground’ Chief should be asked to take that position.”

“We at the Council anxiously wait on information concerning Banks’ replacement,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “His successor should bring the same or a similar perspective to the NYPD and I call upon the administration to ensure that his replacement promotes the voice of New Yorkers of color. ”

“I’m distressed by the resignation of Chief Banks, who was an important bridge between One Police Plaza and all of NYC’s communities, especially communities of color,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “This is a critical time for rebuilding bonds of trust between the NYPD and communities, based on principles of equal justice and safety for all New Yorkers. We must seize the opportunity created by the remedial process in the stop-and-frisk lawsuit, by the Community Safety Act, and by Mayor de Blasio’s election. And we must take a hard look at continuing problems with disparate marijuana arrests, broken windows enforcement, and use of force. I urge Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton to move forward courageously and inclusively to address the challenges facing the NYPD.”

IN THE NEWS

NYTimes: Politicians Show Frustration After a Police Chief’s Exit in New York

NY Observer: Minority Police Groups Blame Bratton for Banks’ Departure

New York’s PIX11: Public officials concerned about lack of NYPD minority leadership

CBS Local City: Council Members Voice Concerns Over Police Chief’s Resignation

NY Post: Minority leaders blast de Blasio over NYPD upheaval

Jamaica Observer: Grenadian/American legislator outraged over resignation of black NYDP chief

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About nycprogressives

The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council is dedicated to creating a more just and equal New York City, combating all forms of discrimination, and advancing public policies that offer genuine opportunity to all New Yorkers, especially those who have been left out of our society’s prosperity.
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