Rev. Al Sharpton has called for diversity in leadership positions within the NYPD as the department reels from the surprise resignation of its highest-ranking African-American member.
Sharpton discussed the resignation of Chief of Department Philip Banks III and called for Banks to be replaced with someone sensitive to police and community relations during a National Action Network rally Saturday morning.
“Yes, I want diversity. Yes, I want blacks and Latinos in senior positions, but I want the right blacks and Latinos,” Sharpton said.
Sharpton is not alone in his call for more diversity within the NYPD’s ranks. The National Latino Officers Association, Grand Council of Guardians, 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care and other advocate groups gathered Saturday to express their concern.
As 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern reported, advocates for minority police officers say Banks’ resignation sends the NYPD in the wrong direction.
“It is a total travesty to see someone who has a career of Banks’ now walk away. We lose so much ground in which we have gained,” said Charles Billups, of the Grand Council of Guardians.
Billups said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton forced Banks out by promoting him to a position with little power.
Bratton denies that’s the case, adding that he’s satisfied with minority representation currently within his department.
“Ultimately it was his choice to step away from the assignment that was offered,” Bratton told Stern on Saturday. “I think we have a very extensive minority representation in the ranks of this department. I’m quite pleased with my appointments in that regard.”
Bratton told Stern that an appointment to replace Banks will be announced on Wednesday, and it will be someone that the community will be happy with.
Banks, a 28-year NYPD veteran, was due to be promoted to first deputy commissioner on Monday.
Sources told CBS2 he had sought and was originally promised more power in the new position, which in the past has been largely ceremonial. However, after meeting with Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, the chief turned down the job and resigned.
“The highest-ranking uniform position is the Chief of Department, not the First Deputy Commissioner, that’s a civilian title. Banks did not wish to become a civilian of the New York City Police Department,” Anthony Miranda with the National Latino Officers Association told CBS2’s Steve Langford.
Read more at 1010 WINS NEW YORK.