NEW YORK (PIX11)-- When Bill Bratton became Commissioner of the NYPD he touted himself as an agent of change. However, after former Chief of the Department Philip Banks abruptly resigned on Friday following a promotion to First Deputy, there are many wondering about Bratton's changes.
"Communities like mine in the Bronx don't trust police officers, they don't respect them for a reason," said City Council member Vanessa Gibson. The chair of the Committee on Public Safety along with other public officials held a news conference on the steps of City Hall Monday afternoon to discuss the losses of the top black and Latino members of the NYPD.
"I'm devastated from Ralph Pineiro and Phil Banks no longer being at the department and we have a lot of concerns in terms of minority leadership, we cannot go back, we have to move forward," Gibson said.
Gibson wasn't alone in those same sentiments.
"It's obviously a problem," said councilman Jumaanne Williams regarding the departures.
The Brooklyn council member is also a member of committee on public safety, "I don't like what's happening right now. Like I said, you can't fix it in eleven months. I don't even think you can fix it in a year, but you should be moving really hard in one direction and this gives us a lot of pause as to whether we are or not."
Mayor Bill de Blasio was actually seen walking in the background of the the news conference as he was entering City Hall. Meanwhile, there were others like Anthony Miranda, a former NYPD Sgt. and the Executive Chairman of the National Latino Officers Association, who were calling for accountability, "The police commissioner has to be held accountable. You cannot have the Mayor speaking out of two side of his mouth, saying that at one point these decisions were made without his knowledge and then say later on that he was are of it. You can't have that."
Meanwhile Commissioner Bratton addressed several members of the rank and file who were being promoted at 1 Police Plaza. One of the members of that group was the replacement for Chief Banks, Chief James O'Neill. Afterwards PIX 11 News asked Commissioner Bratton the one question that was reportedly the reason as to why Banks resigned; Who will Chief O'Neill report to? "Chief O'Neill will be a direct report to me as Chief of the Department," responded Commissioner Bratton.
Which means Chief O'Neill will not report to the First Deputy Commissioner of the NYPD. This is all part of what Commissioner Bratton described as the reconfiguration and reengineering of the department. The commissioner also addressed the concerns over diversity by stating that change will be evident, "I'm very comfortable that the concerns that have been expressed recently by some member of the various diverse communities in the city, that in time, they will see we have an organization that is cognizant of their concerns and in fact is meeting them."