Bill de Blasio ‘Disappointed’ NYPD Chief Philip Banks Stepping Down

Members of the 2014 class of the New York Police Department. (Getty)

Members of the 2014 class of the New York Police Department. (Getty)

Mayor Bill de Blasio said today that he was disappointed to receive the resignation of NYPD Chief Philip Banks — the police department’s highest-ranking uniformed officer, who was about to become first deputy commissioner.

“New York City is the safest big city in America thanks to the brave, dedicated men and women of the NYPD. We were disappointed to hear of Chief Philip Banks’ personal decision to step down,” Mr. de Blasio said in a statement. “He has served New York City admirably during his nearly 30 years on the force, and we were enthusiastic about the leadership and energy he would have brought to the position of First Deputy Commissioner.”

NY1 first reported that Mr. Banks, the department’s top black official, was “resigning” from the department. Mr. Banks is the second member of the NYPD brass to depart in recent weeks: former first deputy commissioner Rafael Pineiro filed for retirement in September.

Mr. Pineiro and Mr. Banks were both contenders for the commissioner job that ultimately went to top cop Bill Bratton. NYPD critics and minority groups — already frustrated by the death of Eric Garner in police custody and what they’ve decried as unfair use of Mr. Bratton’s “broken windows” policing — have expressed concern about the departure of Mr. Pineiro and now Mr. Banks, the department’s highest-ranking Hispanic and black members, respectively.

Others also weighed in on Mr. Banks’ departure Friday — Comptroller Scott Stringer called him “a consummate professional” whose resignation would be a “big loss for the NYPD.”

“We do need to recognize that the diversity within the top ranks of the NYPD is critical to the success of the department,” Mr. Stringer said.

Rev. Al Sharpton blasted out press releases through his National Action Network saying he’d discuss the resignation this Saturday at his weekly rally — and that he had spoken by phone with Mr. de Blasio about Mr. Banks. Bill de Blasio ‘Disappointed’ NYPD Chief Philip Banks Stepping Down