NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton took a swing on Sunday at media accounts portraying a fissure in their relationship following the resignation of Chief of Department Philip Banks III.
“I think the point is to set the record straight,” de Blasio said.
As 1010 WINS’ Roger Stern reported, it was a Gracie Mansion news conference called for one reason only: to blast the New York Post for reporting that there’s a rift between the two over Banks’ resignation.
“There’s all sorts of fabrications that are intentionally intended to harm,” Bratton said.
The New York Post report cited sources that claimed the mayor’s wife, Chirlane McCray, was upset that Bratton let Banks quit, WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported.
“We’ve seen unnamed sources who make up entire conversations in their heads and tell flat out lies,” de Blasio said.
Bratton denied the mayor yelled at him over Banks’ resignation, and scolded reporters.
“Where are your journalistic ethics in the sense of how you’re presenting the story to the public?” he said.
Bratton and de Blasio also spent a considerable amount of time telling the media how highly they regard each other, Stern reported.
“This is the greatest police force in the world. It will get even better. And I’m proud to work closely with Commissioner Bratton on that mission,” the mayor said.
Bratton said de Blasio was the best mayor he’d ever worked for, and added that the duo go on double dates with their wives.
De Blasio said his wife is also a fan of Bratton, despite reports to the contrary.
Posting on her Flo.nyc website, the city’s first lady bashed the reports, saying “This morning I woke up to a front-page news article that simply wasn’t true.”
“It’s like the reporters created a fictional character that happened to look like me and have the same name as me,” McCray wrote. “They put words into my mouth that I never said. They gave me opinions that have never crossed my mind. They made it sound like NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton is my sworn enemy, when in fact he has my full support.”
A spokesperson for the New York Post has not responded to email seeking comment, WCBS 880 reported.
Banks, who was the department’s highest-ranking African-American official, announced his resignation suddenly on Friday.
The 28-year NYPD veteran had been poised to be promoted to first deputy commissioner on Monday.
Sources told CBS2 he had sought and was originally promised more power in the new position, which in the past has been largely ceremonial. However, after meeting with Bratton, the chief turned down the job and resigned.
On Sunday, released a statement regarding his sudden resignation.
In part, the statement said “On Friday, I made the difficult decision to leave the NYPD after 28 years. While I recognize that I was a public servant, I am a private person. However, in light of the attention my decision has received and the ongoing inquires it has generated, I thought it was in everyone’s interest that I make a few points.
“I believe it is the right — frankly, the responsibility — of the Commissioner to select whomever he wants to help lead the department and assign responsibilities as he sees fit. 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.
“While Commissioner Bratton and I both made good-faith efforts to bridge that gap, we were not successful. For that reason, I informed the Commissioner that I could not serve in that role, and he graciously accepted my decision.”
The police commissioner and mayor said they’re devoted to diversity within the NYPD and called media coverage of Banks’ resignation over-the-top, CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported.
“I hesitate to use the word reporting around these events. The fabrications, the sourcing if you will, is nothing short of outrageous,” Bratton said.
Banks’ replacement is expected be announced Wednesday.
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