NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton says he’s not going anywhere after two major police unions spoke out against him amid an ongoing police corruption investigation.
Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, says it’s time that Bratton be held accountable and is calling on him to resign from his command.
Bratton spoke exclusively to WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb Monday, saying he doesn’t fully understand Mullins’ motivations. He pointed to a published report that Mullins supposedly wanted to be commissioner himself.
“I couldn’t quite understand that. Sgt. Mullins or ‘Crazy Eddie’ as he’s known to us in the department… I’m not sure if there’s that motivation that Ed actually thinks he might be the next police commissioner and that might be the potential motivation for trying to grease my exit from the department earlier than I intend to go. So you’ll have to ask Ed about his intentions,” he said.
Bratton said whatever the motivations are, he doesn’t plan on leaving.
“I’m not going anywhere, so you might have to wait a while,” Bratton told Lamb.
“I think he knows what the right thing to do is, but the question is, does he have the courage to do it?” Mullins told CBS2’s Magdalena Doris earlier Monday.
When asked if that means Bratton should step down, Mullins replied: “In my view, that’s what it means.”
Nine police officials, including four deputy chiefs, have been transferred or stripped of their guns and badges as part of internal and federal corruption probes.
The investigation is looking into whether police officers accepted gifts and trips from businessmen Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz in exchange for police escorts and favors.
“We can’t really say much about it while the FBI investigates,” Bratton said, as reported by CBS2’s Dick Brennan.
The two have ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign. Both served on de Blasio’s inaugural committee and either donated or raised money for him.
The probe also involves an investigation of alleged payoffs for gun licenses.
Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein has been charged with bribing police to give him gun permits without background checks, which he would allegedly sell for a large profit.
Mullins said the practice of receiving gifts goes all the way up the chain of command, with the privately-funded New York City Police Foundation paying for Bratton’s personal membership to the Harvard Club.
“How is it that a benefit of membership to the Harvard Club, which is a little over $3,000 a year, is OK to accept?” Mullins said.
The New York City Police Foundation also funded the club expenses for former Commissioner Ray Kelly. They say the Harvard Club is where police commissioners conduct business to further the NYPD’s goal and “this was included in the commissioner’s financial disclosure to the Conflict of Interest Board.”
“It’s intended for a place I as police commissioner can discuss matters relative to New York City Police Department,” Bratton told 880.
Mullins and Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch also believe it’s not a level playing field when it comes to accountability and discipline within the NYPD and they are asking for change.
“For decades we’ve had what we call ‘white shirt immunity’ where the top brass have different rules than rank-and-file police officers,” Lynch said. “If you’ve done something wrong, a fair investigation, a fair punishment regardless of your rank.”
Mullins said the upper echelon has become political and a “boy’s club,” WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported.
Some officials are coming to Bratton’s defense.
Citizens Union Executive Director Dick Dadey said he doesn’t know what prompted Mullins to call for Bratton to step down, but labeled it premature.
“To suggest at this early stage that such a drastic action be taken, particularly for a police commissioner who’s done such a tremendous job in many other ways, in bringing the crime rate down and restructuring the department,” Dadey said.
The mayor also says he fully supports Bratton and the work he is doing.
Mullins responded to the “crazy” comment and whether he wants to be commissioner. He told CBS2 he has no interest in a job which requires the skill-set of a character out of Pinocchio.
As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported, in another development, NYPD Officer Michael Melici, who refused to cooperate with a federal grand jury, has been found guilty on departmental charges. He was accused of failing to comply with a supervisor’s order. Bratton will decide his fate.