NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton made disparaging statements about diversity in the NYPD during an interview with The Guardian, a British newspaper.

In a story published Tuesday, Bratton said that hiring more Black male NYPD officers is a challenge because criminal records are preventing them from qualifying.

“We have a significant population gap among African-American males because so many of them have spent time in jail and, as such, we can’t hire them,” he said.

Bratton has called for a retraction, claiming his words were taken out of context. Reports indicate that Bratton’s statements were taken for another story.

“We are making a mountain out of a mole hill,” he reportedly said. “The Guardian report was incorrect and we are demanding a retraction.”

To become police officers, applicants must pass criminal background checks. Felony convictions automatically disqualify applicants.

However, Bratton said the stop-and-frisk policy, formerly used by police, plays a role in taking Blacks out of the process. Summonses are also considered in the hiring process.

The NYPD is 16 percent Black, whereas the city has a Black population of more than 20 percent. The recent graduating class from the police academy was 10 percent Black.

Outcries for more Black officers have been voiced by the community for years. Recent incidents in which unarmed Black men have been killed at the hands of white officers has further intensified the strain.

Brooklyn Assemblyman Charles Barron said Bratton should be removed not only for his comments but also for his handling of the police. Barron added that even Black police officers have been at the helm of police brutality.

“Bratton is a racist, and he was selected by the most vile, racist mayor in the history of New York City, Rudolph Giuliani,” Barron said. “It’s not just about having Black officers, because Black officers can be as bad. We need to have something in place that will punish and prosecute police and send the officers to jail.”

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said Bratton made light of a long-standing practice in the NYPD when it comes to hiring. Adams wants to expand the NYPD exam for school safety agents, traffic agents and hospital police officers.

“Black men want to serve and protect their communities, but a variety of factors have served as barriers to entry at One Police Plaza,” he said. “We need a diverse police force that our communities can be proud of, one that creates role models through a reflection of true courtesy, professionalism and respect.”

Public Advocate Letitia James said in an interview that Bratton can make changes to the process.

“People who are otherwise qualified to be police officers should have their minor infractions forgiven,” she said.