The highest-ranking uniformed officer in New York City’s police department unexpectedly announced his resignation on Friday, days before he was due to be promoted to become the force’s second in command.
Philip Banks, the force’s chief of department, is stepping down from his job running the patrol units of the country’s largest police force shortly after it was announced he would become Police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s immediate deputy.
“Thanks for your support, the men and women of the NYPD are truly the Finest, but due to professional reasons I have decided to retire,” Banks wrote on Twitter.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was disappointed to hear Banks was retiring.
“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,” de Blasio said.
In a statement, Bratton said Banks’ leaving would be a loss to his department, but he did not explain what motivated Banks to resign.
Bratton told reporters at a news conference earlier that Banks said he had discussed the deputy commissioner role with his family and decided that it was a wrong fit. Bratton said he was surprised at the resignation.
New York City Council members Jumaane Williams and Vanessa Gibson said Banks may have changed his mind about the new job because they believed it was relatively powerless.
“We are extremely disturbed by news of the resignation of Chief Banks, which comes after news of his ‘promotion’ to a ceremonial position that does not hold the authority it deserves,” they said in a joint statement.
Banks, 50, joined the New York City Police Department in July 1986 as a patrol officer, according to the police department’s website. Bratton’s predecessor, Raymond Kelly, promoted Banks to his current job in March 2013.
Following the resignation announcement, the Rev. Al Sharpton called for Banks, who was the most senior black official in the police department, to be replaced with “someone sensitive to police-community relations.”
A federal judge ruled last year that the police department had infringed on the rights of black and Latino New Yorkers by stopping and frisking them in disproportionate numbers.
(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Jonathan Allen and Mohammad Zargham)