New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced during a press conference today (August 2) that the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) controversial commissioner William "Bill" Bratton will step down from his post in September.
The mayor appointed Bratton in 2013. It is a position Bratton previously held from 1994 to 1996. As Gothamist reported today, his tenure as commissioner under Mayor Rudy Giuliani involved the controversial implementation of "broken windows" policy (which argues that policing minor crimes creates an environment that stalls major crimes) and CompStat (a data management and accountability system that coordinates various information sources to assess crime). Critics said both CompStat and broken windows policing compelled aggressive tactics that, coupled with stop-and-frisk practices implemented by other NYPD commissioners, terrorized Black and Brown communities. Despite pledging to improve relations with communities of color, Bratton faced further criticism as the city wrestled the controversial police killings of Eric Garner and Akai Gurley by officers Daniel Pantaleo and Peter Liang, respectively.
Bratton also previously served as police commissioner in Boston and Los Angeles, and was the head of the New York Transit Police prior to his first NYPD stint. He will be replaced by Chief of Department James O’Neill, the NYPD’s highest-ranking uniformed officer, and start a job with global consulting firm Teneo, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The announcement comes one day after activists descended on City Hall for the "#ShutDownCityHallNYC" action against police violence. Organized by Millions March NYC—"a multiracial grassroots collective of organizers committed to building and strengthening the movement for Black lives in NYC"—the action occupied parks near City Hall. Participants demanded an end to Bratton’s tenure, the defunding of the NYPD and reparations for those affected by police violence.
The Guardian cited de Blasio’s comment that the protest "one hundred and ten per cent has nothing to do with [Bratton’s departure]." The following tweets suggest that the action will go on despite Bratton’s resignation:
The 1st demand of #ShutdownCityHallNYC HAS BEEN MET! BYE BILL BRATTON!! This is JUST the beginning! #ABOLISHPOLICE pic.twitter.com/rMiNhO6IgT
— Millions March NYC (@MillionsMarch) August 2, 2016
As Day Two of #ShutDownCityHallNYC begins, Bratton resigns. Demand one met, on to reparations. pic.twitter.com/Pd5tHFfvbB
— Keegan Stephan (@KeeganNYC) August 2, 2016