New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill abruptly announced his resignation and retirement on Monday. Not an hour went by before the name of a possible replacement floated around political circles. The rumors were true.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed another white guy.

“I’m leaving because I have another opportunity,” said O’Neill during a City Hall news conference. “I’ll talk a little bit more about that after I leave, but it’s something I couldn’t pass up. I’ve been doing this job for almost 37 years now. I love being a cop, and I consider myself a cop as the police commissioner. I never considered myself a sergeant, lieutenant, captain, whatever rank I was—I considered myself a cop, because I know what it’s like to be out there at two o’clock on a Saturday morning when you’re it and people look to you—‘Hey, keep me safe, make me feel better.’ And that’s what our cops do each and every day, and you do it because they want to. Nobody gets drafted into the Police Department. They join it to make a difference and to do good.”

In the aftermath of O’Neill’s resignation, the mayor announced the appointment of NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea to police commissioner.

“…Commissioner Jimmy O’Neill, who’s done such an outstanding job over these last years, will be leaving for a role in the private sector. He’ll talk about that when he comes up to bat,” said de Blasio. “Jimmy has done so many extraordinary things, I literally don’t have enough time to list them all, but I can say the most important ones. He led a transformation that many people felt was impossible. I heard the doubting Thomases many times, they said that neighborhood policing wouldn’t work, they said that the changes we were making would make us less safe, they said communities wouldn’t buy in, they said police wouldn’t buy in. They didn’t know Jimmy O’Neill, and they didn’t know what he had built and the caliber of the people he built it with, like Dermot Shea and so many others.”

O’Neill served as police commissioner for three years taking the place of long-time commissioner Bill Bratton. The mayor said that O’Neill should be proud of crime in New York City being at its lowest since the 1950s.

“For the past three years, Commissioner O’Neill has dedicated his life to protecting New York City and we are all grateful for his service,” said New York State Attorney General Letitia James. “Under his leadership, our city reached record low major crime rates and he worked to address many of the challenges that have long existed between the police and the communities they serve.”

According to the mayor, 150,000 fewer people were arrested than five years before. De Blasio said that families being intact, safer streets, and respect between the community and cops have improved. But recent news says otherwise.

Last month, five teenagers were arrested on a Brooklyn subway platform in another incident caught on video. An officer could be seen punching a teenager as several other officers threw teenagers on the ground and put them in handcuffs. Police said they were responding to a call about a brawl on the platform. Recently, officers arrested 19-year-old Adrian Napier, with guns drawn, because he hopped the turnstile and didn’t pay the fare. Video of the incident went viral with elected officials from Cuomo to Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro weighing in on the incident. Last weekend, protesters staged a mass turnstile hopping protesting the over policing of fare beating (something that the NYPD says has gone up by 50 percent compared to 2018).

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo is currently proposing to hire 500 more MTA police officers to patrol the subways and buses despite the decrease in crime. For many, this is O’Neill’s legacy.

“In spite of millions of public and private dollars spent on NYPD public relations and spin, Commissioner O’Neill’s legacy includes doubling down on abusive broken windows policing, expanding police secrecy and refusing to publicly release the names of officers who kill and brutalize, launching unprecedented digital surveillance operations, and refusing to discipline and fire most officers who harm New Yorkers, including most of the officers who engaged in misconduct related to the NYPD killings of Delrawn Small, Eric Garner and others,” stated Loyda Colon, spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform and co-director of Justice Committee.

Tina Luongo, attorney-in-charge of the Criminal Defense Practice at The Legal Aid Society, said the city needs a more transparent and accountable police commissioner willing to better engage the community. She also said that the new commissioner’s record isn’t stellar as well.

“Under Chief Dermot Shea’s watch, the NYPD has expanded its rogue gang database to ensnare thousands of Black and Latinx men and women, and codified practices to surreptitiously collect DNA at all costs, even from those who have never been convicted of or charged with a crime,” stated Luongo. “This will be more of the same, and our clients—New Yorkers from communities of color—will continue to suffer more of the same from a police department that prioritizes arrests and summonses above all else.”

A native of Sunnyside, Queens, Shea joined the force in 1991 and comes from a family of people who served in law enforcement and the armed forces. His brothers Jim and Chris served in the Marine Corps and as a transit cop respectively. Dermot served for two decades at the 46th Precinct in the South Bronx working his way up to chief of detectives.

This year, Shea fell into some hot water denying allegations that he shepherded random race-based DNA collections during investigations. The accusations were made during the trial of Chanel Lewis who was tried and convicted of killing Karina Vetrano.

“We are not randomly collecting people’s DNA,” Shea said during a New York City Council hearing about the NYPD requesting $420 million to create a new DNA and evidence facility. “If we did there would be a database of millions and millions of people. I am very comfortable with where we are given the size, the small number and that it is uniquely tied to crimes.”

Leaders in the Black community and citizens’ rights groups are weary of the new appointment and had a mixed reaction to the legacy O’Neill left.

“Dermot Shea has a very bad history,” said Jose LaSalle, founder and leader of the Copwatch Patrol Unit in New York City. “So to put him in this position when he’s already been caught lying? That’s the wrong course.”

LaSalle also wondered aloud why de Blasio picked Shea considering that NYPD Police Chief Benjamin Tucker, a Black man, exists. He saw it as a missed opportunity to change the NYPD from within and said that de Blasio made the wrong choice.

“It’s a sad day for people who are constantly fighting against police brutality,” LaSalle said.

Anthony Beckford, leader of the Brooklyn sector of the Copwatch Patrol Unit, said a few reforms don’t make a good term for a police commissioner.

“The NYPD was not improving under Commissioner O’Neill, which is why a few pieces of criminal justice reform had to be introduced into legislation by local elected officials,” said Beckford in a statement. “The NYPD will not get any better under Shea, who has a history of bias and racist tactics against our Black communities. And yes, the lack of consideration of a Black person for the position shows the current local administration’s lack of diversity and anti-Blackness, but we have to also remember that the NYPD has a gang culture of its own. So no amount of diversity in the NYPD will ever bring about justice for the people.”

National Action Network President Al Shaprton said that he wants to speak with Shea as soon as possible to address issues communities of color face when dealing with law enforcement and the justice system.

“The National Action Network and civil rights leaders across New York City are seeking an immediate meeting with newly appointed NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea to discuss current policing policies as it pertains to the treatment of Black and Brown communities in New York City,” stated Sharpton. “We’re hoping that he is open to having an open dialogue with us and working together to help put an end to unlawful policing practices while increasing accountability as it pertains to NYC’s Black and Brown communities.”

New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman also focused on the ongoing danger faced by Black and Brown New Yorkers during encounters with the police. She is one of many who believe that the key to better policing is transparency.

“Despite these steps of progress, trust between police officers and community members remains low, especially for Black and Brown New Yorkers,” stated Lieberman. “The continuation of broken windows criminalizes poverty and perpetuates the over policing of communities of color. Too often, officers’ failure to deescalate routine situations leads to violence. And when officers harm the very people they’re sworn to protect, many evade accountability, leaving New Yorkers left to wonder if officers are ever held responsible for their actions.

“As the NYPD enters its next phase of leadership, the Department must prioritize transparency, accountability, and repairing relationships with the people they serve,” Lieberman concluded.

When asked about his legacy, LaSalle said that O’Neill’s reputation might be worse with the cops than with the people.

“Because of him terminating Daniel Pantaleo because of the use of an illegal chokehold, his legacy in the eyes of those that supported him before is one of the worst commissioners that you can have,” said LaSalle. “But for us and activists, we take it as one for the good guys. He gave a lot of hope to Garner’s families and other families that there is some kind of justice even if it’s small and hard to see.”