A century ago this week, Samuel Battle became New York City’s first black police officer, says the New York Times. Then the city’s population was 2 percent black, now blacks are 23 percent of the city's population, and 18 percent of all police officers. Black, Hispanic, and Asian New Yorkers make up nearly 48 percent among all ranks, and among police officers they have been a majority since 2006.
Among higher-ranking officers, promoted on the basis of competitive civil service tests, minority officers constitute 39 percent of sergeants, up from 19 percent a decade ago; 25 percent of lieutenants, up from 13 percent; and 17 percent of captains, up from 5 percent. Early in his career, samuel Battle was pointed out by tour guides as “New York's first colored policeman.” Later, he was banished to Brooklyn, for raiding a politically connected establishment. He served as mentor to a young patrolman, William O’Dwyer, who would become mayor.