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On Eve Of Promotion, NYPD's Top Uniformed Official Resigns

On the eve of a promotion that would have made him the second in command of the New York Police Department, Chief Philip Banks III handed in his resignation.

On Twitter, Banks said:

The New York Times reports that the resignation comes as a surprise especially because of the timing. The paper adds:

"It was only Tuesday when Mr. Bratton announced his intention to promote Chief Banks to be the first deputy commissioner.

"Chief Banks, who is black, was to have replaced Rafael Pineiro, the highest-ranking Hispanic member of the department. Mr. Pineiro announced his retirement last month amid protests from some Hispanic police leaders who felt he had been forced out.

"Both Chief Banks and Mr. Pineiro had been considered possible candidates to replace Mr. Bratton's predecessor, Raymond W. Kelly, as police commissioner."

In a brief statement, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was "disappointed to hear" of Banks' "personal decision to step down."

He continued: "He has served New York City admirably during his nearly 30 years on the force, and we were enthusiastic about the leadership and energy he would have brought to the position of First Deputy Commissioner."

Newsday reports that Bratton said Banks informed him of his resignation this morning. The paper adds:

"Banks made his decision to turn down the appointment to the second-highest-ranking job in the NYPD after talking with his family, according to Bratton. ...

" 'My God, that is a shock,' said police historian Thomas Reppetto. 'I look forward to hearing the explanation for all this. Banks was clearly the heir apparent to the police commissioner job.' "

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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