NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD’s second in command admits he’s disappointed with Mayor Bill de Blasio’s police commissioner pick.
On Wednesday, CBS2’s Dick Brennan learned Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker was not even offered the job as top cop.
De Blasio says he’s committed to diversity in the Police Department, but critics are wondering why the three commissioners he has appointed during his tenure — Bill Bratton, James O’Neill, and now Dermot Shea — have been white males while all the while a qualified black man has sat in the number two position.
They walked in side by side, the first deputy police commissioner and the mayor, but Tucker said he understands he won’t be de Blasio’s right-hand man in the fight against crime.
“I learned about it from the mayor on Sunday evening in a meeting we had. He informed me at the time he had selected Dermot,” Tucker said on Wednesday.
Tucker told reporters what it felt like being passed over the the commissioner’s job, now for the third time.
“Of course you’re disappointed, right? But at the same time it’s the mayor’s call, so I’ll leave it there,” Tucker said.
But others are not leaving it there. De Blasio’s choice of Shea is raising questions about why the nation’s largest police force hasn’t had a black chief since Lee Brown left the commissioner’s post in 1992. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams blasted the mayor on CBSN New York on Wednesday for not choosing Tucker.
“An attorney, former law enforcement officer, played the number two role all of these years, we’re saying he’s not qualified? Then my question is who is?” Adams said.
Web Extra: One-On-One With Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams:
On Twitter, state Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz wrote: “At a time when the relationship between police and communities of color couldn’t be worse — we chose yet another white guy?”
And Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said the mayor’s appointment seems to indicate a pattern.
“I respect him. I work with him. He’s been a friend a long time. I couldn’t disagree with him more,” de Blasio said of Williams.
The mayor said he’s very confident in the choices he has made, and is certain they do reflect New York City.
“More and more leaders are coming up through the NYPD. The NYPD is changing profoundly. Anyone who thinks it’s caught in the 1950s or ’60s or ’70s isn’t paying attention,” de Blasio said.
Shea will take over on Dec. 1, and he will be making high-level appointments. For one, he has to pick a replacement for himself, the chief of detectives. The question is will his high-level picks satisfy critics looking for a more-diverse leadership.