Police Chief Banks gets promotion; Barron demands NYPD overhaul

Nayaba Arinde | 10/30/2014, 1:09 p.m.
Police Chief Philip Banks III just got a promotion. You can now call him First Deputy Commissioner Banks.
First Deputy Commissioner Philip Banks III Photo by Bill Moore

Police Chief Philip Banks III just got a promotion. You can now call him First Deputy Commissioner Banks.

Former City Council Member (and state Assembly candidate) Charles Barron was unimpressed. “We are not looking for a change of complexion of the NYPD leadership, but a change of direction of the policing policies in our neighborhoods,” he told the AmNews.

Wednesday, Oct. 29, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced the appointment, promotion and designation of members of his leadership team, effective, Monday, Nov. 3.

“Chief Banks’ commitment to the NYPD and the people of New York City has been demonstrated throughout his impressive career within the department,” said Bratton. “His 28 years of experience will benefit him as he continues his exceptional work as the first deputy commissioner.”

Does this herald a new dawn of wondrous NYPD–inner city community relations? Will there be vast and sweeping reform throughout the department? For Barron, those questions are rhetorical, although unique and fundamental change in policy and practice within the NYPD remain on his wish list.

“The announcement today of the advancements within the senior executive level of the NYPD reflects our ongoing efforts in keeping this department a leader in law enforcement innovation and professionalism,” said Bratton, adding that Banks was one of “ three exceptional leaders [who] have demonstrated dedication, motivation and a deep devotion to community relations throughout their impressive law enforcement careers. Their new responsibilities will provide them with the opportunity to lead the department in serving the people of New York City.”

Banks joined the NYPD in July 1986 and began his career on patrol in the 81st Precinct. His climb as a company man was steady—from deputy inspector in June 2001, to chief of community affairs in July 2001 and chief of department on March 28, 2013.

In high-profile cases, such as those of Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Ramarley Graham, Avonte Oquendo, Kimani Gray and, most recently, Eric Garner, Banks has always been a visible presence on the scene.

Banks did not respond to an AmNews request for a statement regarding his new promotion. During an April 2013 interview, when asked about the strained police/Black/Brown community dynamic, the Brooklyn native said, “I don’t believe there is a negative relationship. The press reports that negative interaction, but there’s a host of people who feel there is a positive reaction.”

Banks declared, “I am a firm believer that the police are part of the community and the community are the police.

“The community has to realize that they play a key part in policing their city, and when the job is left to the police department, you have these particular problems. … I envision that we all come together on this particular issue—gun violence, robbery reduction, crime reduction and better quality of life—we’re all in this together.”

Barron determined that fundamental change in leadership and methodology in the NYPD has to be implemented. “I will continue to support and lead the charge for Commissioner Bratton to go,” he said. “NYPD under Bill Bratton is out of control! We are still being stopped and frisked, brutalized and killed by the abusive use of deadly force. We acknowledge this elevation of Philip Banks to deputy first commissioner is a direct reaction to the pressure of our ‘Bratton must go’ movement.

“Yes, it’s important for people that police our neighborhoods to reflect the racial composition of our neighborhoods. But from Ferguson to New York City, we will not be fooled by the promotion of Blacks that continue the racist, abusive deadly policies by law enforcement in America. We still say, ‘Bratton must go,’ and take his broken window theory with him!”