Outgoing NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks III said Sunday night that his abrupt decision to leave the force stemmed from a failure to "bridge that gap" with Police Commissioner William Bratton over new responsibilities.
Bratton had proposed that Banks, a 28-year veteran, be promoted to first deputy commissioner, or second in command. Banks instead resigned from the NYPD Friday.
"In this case, while serving as First Deputy Commissioner would have been an honor, I felt that the position would take me away from where I could make the greatest contribution: the police work and operations that I love so much," Banks said in a statement, his first extensive public remarks on his departure. "While Commissioner Bratton and I both made good-faith efforts to bridge that gap, we were not successful."
Banks also urged the public to support the "finest police department in the world."
His statement came after Mayor Bill de Blasio and Bratton called a news conference at Gracie Mansion to rebut a news report of acrimony between City Hall and the police department as untrue and "fabrications."
"Those falsehoods don't take us forward. They attempt to take us backward," de Blasio said. "But I'm not going to be distracted. Commissioner Bratton's not going to be distracted. NYPD's not going to be distracted."
The NYPD lost its top-ranking Latino and black officials when First Deputy Commissioner Rafael Pineiro retired Friday and Banks resigned. Bratton said he would prioritize diversity after first ensuring his appointments had the "ability to do the assignment."
"NYPD is more that just one person," Bratton said.
According to a news report, first lady Chirlane McCray was angry at de Blasio for the loss of Banks and for choosing Bratton as commissioner. De Blasio criticized Bratton for not catering to Banks, according to the report.
De Blasio said he has "absolute confidence" in Bratton and said they are constantly in consultation.
Bratton called his relationship with McCray "strictly social" and said he has "great latitude" in selecting his staff. Bratton said he will name Banks' replacement Wednesday and will announce other police promotions Monday.