Following an all-day demonstration by the Millions March NYC — a spinoff of the Black Lives Matter movement — New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is expected to announce his resignation.
According to multiple sources, protesters demanded Bratton step down over continued incidents of police brutality — during protests, the activists had promised to shut down New York’s City Hall until Mayor Bill de Blasio capitulated to their stipulation.
Bratton is expected to make the announcement later today that his resignation will be effective beginning next month. According to the New York Times, Bratton will be replaced by the highest ranking uniformed officer, Chief James O’Neill, who first became an officer in 1983.
Though the commissioner had previously said he would step down in 2017, the announcement came as a surprise to many — and much to the satisfaction of protesters.
“I have the luxury of going when I want to go,” the Times quoted Bratton saying in an interview last month. “I’m not going to be here in the second term. That’s the reality of it.”
Requesting an end to New York’s ‘Broken Windows’ policing policies, those protesters intoned the words of Frederick Douglass, who “presciently summarized in 1845: ‘The slaveowners’ plan was to whip for the smallest offenses, to prevent the commission of large ones.’”
The #ShutDownCityHall protest also called for reparations to be paid to survivors and families of victims of police brutality — which they felt should be drawn from the NYPD’s $5.5 billion per year budget — with the remainder to be reinvested in minority communities.
Though the timing of Bratton’s resignation appeared to coincide precisely as a response to the protests, the Wall Street Journal reported the decision had been made last week. Mayor de Blasio claimed the department has been interviewing potential replacements ever since.
Bratton, in fact, responded to protests, originally saying he had “no concern about being fired,” and that he was “still young enough” at 68 to take on “additional challenges.”
“There’s never a good time to leave something that you love doing, but there’s a right time,” Bratton previously told the Times. “When I find that right time, after a consultation with the mayor, I’ll decide to go.”
According to the WSJ, unnamed officials said Bratton had agreed to remain on the job until September ‘to help ease the transition for the new commissioner.’
Bratton has accumulated some 45 years of public service, but has only been on the job in New York City for 31 months.
The commissioner has been a controversial figure for NYPD officers as he attempted to reform the department. He also earned the ire of the force after backing the mayor’s comments about the killing of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos — which led to a complete work stoppage by the NYPD.
Bratton’s announcement is expected during a press conference at noon on Tuesday. Below is the live feed.