NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The NYPD is down its chief of patrol.
Chief Fausto Pichardo held the position for less than a year.
On Wednesday, the mayor said Pichardo is retiring early for a personal reason, but sources claim he’s resigning, frustrated at being micromanaged and undermined by the mayor.
Exclusive video shows NYPD Chief of Patrol Fausto Pichardo dodging questions from reporters after turning in his papers and telling Mayor de Blasio he’s done.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, caught off guard by this, says he tried to dissuade him, but failed.
“He is such a well-respected leader on this job with an incredibly – my opinion – incredibly bright future ahead of him. No matter what does,” Shea said. “This one is a gut punch because it’s such a huge hole to fill. He’s such a well-rounded individual. He’s a loss to the city.”
Earlier Tuesday the NYPD revealed deeper changes to restore community trust in police, but sources say it appears the mayor didn’t trust the chain of command in the NYPD.
Pichardo’s final straw allegedly happened when returned home from long hours at the Borough park protests over new COVID-related restrictions. Sources say he missed calls and messages from the mayor which lead to a blowout over the phone. The mayor wanted him to handle a block party in the Bronx that Pichardo felt a precinct commander could.
Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio denied there was an argument.
“Just not accurate,” de Blasio said.
The mayor said there was one issue where he thought there may have been a “miscommunication” he wanted to discuss with Pichardo, but that Pichardo is leaving for a personal reason.
“This was a personal decision, a decision based on personal and family factors,” de Blasio said.
“It’s been a real stressful year, a lot of time away from family, you know, all of those things probably came together with this moment in time,” Shea said. “In terms of Fausto, man, it is a tremendous, tremendous loss.”
The mayor said he will let Pichardo discuss it when he’s ready.
“Very clear, personal factors he felt important to do for his own family,” the mayor said.
It’s a stark contrast to December when the mayor named the 20-year police veteran the first Dominican-American to take the job.
“I’m speechless,” Pichardo said at the time.
“This is a moment to celebrate and a moment to recognize as real progress and change at the NYPD,” de Blasio said in December.
The mayor’s press secretary put out a statement late Tuesday that calls Pichardo a “deeply respected leader” and says “City Hall is continuing to have conversations with him regarding his future.”
“It’s a complicated situation. It’s been a tough year for a lot of people,” Shea said. “Hopefully, you know, maybe he’ll reconsider.”
The all comes at a time when officers have been told to prepare for more protests ahead of the presidential election and Supreme Court confirmation hearings.
Shea says Pichardo is an NYPD success story. He came on the job as a cadet and rose through the ranks very fast.
Pichardo will remain on the job until mid-November.
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