NEW YORK — NYPD First Deputy Commissioner Benajamin Tucker was disappointed that he was passed over for the role of commissioner when James O’Neill announced his resignation and he wasn’t the only one disappointed with the decision.
Mayor Bill de Blasio chose Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea to replace O’Neill. His decision was quickly questioned by some New Yorkers who didn’t understand why a person of color — like Tucker — wasn’t chosen.
“At a time when the relationship between police and communities of color couldn’t be worse – we chose yet another white guy? We have many qualified men and women of color within the @NYPDnews who could lead the force in the right direction,” state Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz tweeted. “What gives? #ICantEven”
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said he doesn’t understand it either.
“[I don’t understand] why, after three tries, we couldn’t find one qualified black or Latino to run the NYPD,” he said during his speech after Tuesday’s election.
Councilman Donovan Richards, chairman of the City Council’s public safety committee, called de Blasio’s hiring decision “a missed opportunity to ensure the diversity of the department was reflected at the very top of the NYPD.”
Many feel Tucker would have been an obvious choice. Tucker’s been with the NYPD since 1969. He was promoted to first deputy commissioner under the leadership of Bill Bratton. When Bratton left in 2016, de Blasio picked O’Neill as a replacement.
“Hey, listen, you know – yeah, of course you’re disappointed, right? At the same time, you know, it’s the Mayor’s call, right? And so, I’ll leave it there… I mean, but yeah,” Tucker said Wednesday about being passed over for the top cop position.
Tucker was told about de Blasio’s decision on Sunday night. It was formally announced on Monday.
About 80 percent pf those above the rank of captain are white, according to police data reported on by the New York Times.
De Blasio said he doesn’t believe that’s accurate.
“Look at this administration, which is the most diverse administration, in terms of leadership, this city’s ever seen,” he said. “Look at people of all different backgrounds, playing a whole host of roles. Look at the number of women in positions of leadership – over 50 percent in this administration. The fact is there’s always highly qualified candidates for a variety of positions, it’s never been a question.”