Former NYPD Commissioner O’Neill to be COVID-19 senior advisor

Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill announces the firing Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo for the death of Eric Garner. (File/Charles Eckert)

Former New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill will return to public service as the city’s COVID-19 Senior Adviser to help “wage the battle against coronavirus,” Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday. 

In his new role, O’Neill will oversee the supply and distribution of personal protective and medical equipment within New York City hospitals as demand continues to surge due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

According to Mayor de Blasio, O’Neill will create, operate and manage a team of supply inspectors  within the hospitals “to ensure the rapid turnaround of new supplies” and to make sure that every hospital is pushing essential equipment to front line health care workers.  

O’Neill will take on this volunteer role while continuing to serve as Senior Vice President and Head of Global Security at Visa Inc, according to a press release.

O’Neill stepped down as police commissioner last October after firing NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo for placing Eric Garner in a chokehold that led to his death after officers tried to arrest him for selling loose cigarettes six years ago. 

The then-commissioner was criticized for not making the decision sooner and allowing Pantaleo to serve on desk duty for five more years after Garner’s death.