The New York Police Department’s top uniformed officer abruptly resigned Friday, just before he was to be promoted to the top civilian position directly under Commissioner William Bratton, the New York Times reports. Philip Banks III, who is chief of department, cited “professional reasons” for his resignation. People familiar with his thinking said he worried the promotion to first deputy commissioner would have removed him from day-to-day and strategic crime-fighting initiatives. The new position was perceived as becoming more administrative over the last decade. “He didn't want dust to gather around him,” a source said, saying Banks had been negotiating with Bratton about expanding the scope of the new job and even retaining some of his old authority. “They were trying to define his role and responsibility and they hit an impasse,” the source said.
Banks, who is black, was to have replaced Rafael Pineiro, the highest-ranking Hispanic member of the department. Pinero retired last month amid protests from some Hispanic police leaders who felt he had been forced out. The departures of Banks and Pineiro were viewed as a damaging one-two punch to Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio, who have railed against the department's use of stop-and-frisk tactics against minorities, and called for a new era of cooperation between minorities and law enforcement. “The fact that just 10 months into this administration, the top uniformed police officer believed that he had to resign is deeply troubling, especially on the heels of First Deputy Police Commissioner Rafael Pineiro's retirement,” said Letitia James, the city's public advocate.