The Borough Park protests were apparently the breaking point for Chief of Patrol Fausto Pichardo, after Mayor Bill de Blasio attempted to reach him by phone during the heat of the protests last Wednesday and even after he left the scene, according to sources.
Some top cops told amNewYork Metro say this “micromanaging” was “a breach of the chain of command” in which mayors in the past would contact the commissioner or his deputies rather than call command chiefs in the field for updates.
Chief Pichardo will retire after serving 21 years as a police officer, one of the younger members of the top ranks of the NYPD. Commissioner Dermot Shea has 30 years in the department. Pichardo was in charge of tens of thousands of uniform cops in the field.
The chief was at the Borough Park protests on Wednesday and directed officers to stop egg throwers in a building adjacent to where Orthodox Jewish demonstrators had gathered. That roof was cleared, and then some commanders claimed Pichardo left the site — leaving Deputy Chief Charles Scholl, the most experienced commander available, as the ranking cop at the site to keep the protest under control.
Hundreds of officers were brought in to contain the protest within a two-block area. While the Orthodox Jewish demonstrators were not hostile to police, most journalists present there reported threats from members of the crowd. In one case, Jewish journalist Jacob Kornbluh was assaulted and chased onto 47th Street where cops were able to prevent further attacks.
This reporter, too ,was threatened at one point — and had to be rescued by police officers who recognized the danger.
“There is a chain of command and we’ve never heard of the mayor calling a Chief of Patrol – it always went through the commissioner,” one top cop said.
Published reports indicated that when Pichardo got home from what was a 15-hour shift and missed a call from de Blasio — and according to the New York Post, the mayor summoned the chief to City Hall on Friday to chew him out for the oversight.
On Saturday night, the Mayor’s office reportedly texted Pichardo several times about a house party in the Bronx, with the constant texting viewed as “meddling,” and again, “not following a chain of command.” Pichardo apparently believed the incident could be adequately handled by a precinct commander.
Pichardo held several high-profile positions, including commanding officer of the 43rd Precinct in the Soundview section of the Bronx and commander in the 33rd Precinct in Washington Heights.
He went on to hold a number of high-profile posts, including as commanding officer of the 33rd Precinct in Washington Heights and commanding officer of the 43rd Precinct in the Soundview section of the Bronx. He was promoted in December, where he sat next to now Chief of Detectives Rodney Harrison, who had worked for in the past.
Pichardo moved from the Dominican Republic at the age of 9 and was educated in New York City public schools
The department confirmed his resignation.
“Chief Fausto Pichardo, the NYPD Chief of Patrol, filed for retirement on Tuesday, ending an accomplished more than two-decade-long career in the New York City Police Department,” the department said in a statement.
“Chief Pichardo, 43, was the first Chief of Patrol of Dominican heritage in NYPD history and has worked tirelessly in recent months to guide the men and women in uniform through a series of challenging issues that have strained the city and the agency.”
The Mayor’s office called Pichardo “a respected leader.”
Police Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch called the resignation sad.
“This is what happens when elected officials play political games with police department operations,” Lynch said. “Our top talent in all ranks is being driven out the door and public safety is suffering. City Hall’s amateur-hour meddling has left the NYPD broken, almost beyond repair.”