Both city officials and the media are going to notice when a high-ranking cop turns down a promotion after 28 years of service and quits instead. Ever since NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks III declined a promotion to first deputy commissioner, which would place him second in command, rumors have been swirling about the relationship between him, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and First Lady Chirlane McCray.
The New York Post ran with a version of the story that pits de Blasio and McCray against Bratton. Citing a source, the Post described McCray as “furious” upon hearing about the resignation, and said that afterwards, de Blasio was “blasting [Bratton] face to face for not catering to Banks.”
According to the Post, Banks was “used to getting his way” with former Commissioner Ray Kelly, but that changed under Bratton. “Then Bratton comes on the scene, and Banks makes a power move. He wants more power, and he has the backing of City Hall and the Rev. Al [Sharpton],” the source said.
De Blasio and McCray have attempted to shut down those rumors. The mayor held a press conference on Sunday at Gracie Mansion calling Bratton “the finest police leader in the United States.” He put his full support in Bratton’s team, saying, “I have absolute confidence in Commissioner Bratton and his leadership team.”
McCray, who was at the Gracie Mansion but did not attend the press conference, addressed the rumors in a scathing blog post titled, “Wanted: Truth In Journalism.” She wrote:
I admire Commissioner Bratton and the work he is doing. I have never questioned his integrity. I respect the decision of Chief of Department Philip Banks to resign. And most importantly, I will continue to do everything I can to support the crucial reforms undertaken by Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton.
As for Banks, who was reportedly “friendly” with the mayor and his wife, he seemingly stepped down over irreconcilable differences. “In this case, while serving as First Deputy Commissioner would have been an honor, I felt that the position would take me away from where I could make the greatest contribution: the police work and operations that I love so much,” he said in a statement on Sunday. “While Commissioner Bratton and I both made good-faith efforts to bridge that gap, we were not successful.”
(Photo: NYC Mayor’s Office)