Police Commissioner resigning in September
Nayaba Arinde | 8/4/2016, 12:42 p.m.
“Ding dong the warlock is gone!” declared an elated Assemblyman Charles Barron, upon hearing that the somewhat controversial police commissioner had just announced that he was going to be retiring next month. “Police Commissioner William Bratton should [never] have been hired in the first place.”
Barron predicted, “Mayor Bill de Blasio is next.” However, he added, “But, we don’t just need a personnel change, we need a policy change.”
It started off like an ordinary Tuesday (Aug. 2, 2016)—except that dozens of off-duty police officers were camped outside embattled Mayor de Blasio’s Gracie Mansion home, and then followed him to his Park Slope gym. Not to mention that the day before, hundreds of protestors spent the day attempting to “Shut down City Hall,” as dozens of speakers demanded several things, including the “abolition of the police department,” the resignation of Bratton, the ending of police brutality and the beginning of police accountability, while presenting a host of other civilian grievances. The phrase “one-term mayor” was bandied about by both police and protestors within the 24-hour period of demonstrations.
Then, news began to filter out that Bratton had told de Blasio Monday night that he was jumping ship by Sept. 1, supposedly to make a life change and pursue a lucrative security consultancy offer that he simply could not refuse.
Activists across the city did not hide their glee. While de Blasio, Bratton, new Police Commissioner-select James O’Neill, First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker, and new Chief of Department Carlos Gomez chuckled merrily at the hastily arranged press conference at City Hall, their mutual admiration society quips and anecdotes only bolstered the rapid response of a host of New York City grassroots activists who touted the resignation as a victory for the movement to remove Bratton.
“We have found the perfect person to succeed him in Chief Jimmy O’Neill,” declared a smiling de Blasio.
Becoming emotional as he thanked his mother and sister, O’Neill stated, “It’s about all of us, and today in New York City we’re at record lows in terms of homicides and shootings, and by year’s end, we’ll have a great chance at logging the fewest indexed crimes ever recorded in a single year. That’s truly historic ... But that doesn’t mean we stop. We never stop trying to drive down crime and quell disorder, and we’re going to do it in lockstep with the people we’re dedicated to protect. It is, after all, what we do now.”
The mayor praised O’Neill for his “neighborhood policing” initiative. “People of this city have never experienced true neighborhood policing,” de Blasio said. “It has never happened on a sustained basis. Jimmy O’Neill and this team are the people who will bring us neighborhood policing for the first time, borrowing from the past when the officers really knew the members of the community, knew the parents, knew the kids, but with a lot of other features—training officers in how to de-escalate conflict, working on how to work together across all the background that make up this city.”