According to a report from NBC 4 New York on Tuesday morning, NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton will resign from his post, opening up New York City's top law enforcement position after a two-and-a-half year tenure. It's not exactly a surprise — as The New York Times notes, the 68-year-old told the paper last month that he wouldn't stay on as NYPD chief past 2017, but needless to say, this is happening a little sooner than even that interview suggested. Bratton twice served as the head of the NYPD, first from 1994 through 1996, and now from 2014 through 2016. According to the reports, he'll officially be gone next month.
He's only the second law enforcement officer to have led the NYPD two separate times, alongside former NYPD commissioner Ray Kelly, who did the job from 1992 through 1994, then from 2002 to 2014, the longest tenure in the department's history.
Bratton, who also previously served as the top cop in the Boston and Los Angeles police departments, will reportedly enter the private sector following his resignation. In other words, his days in policing may be coming to a final close, after a career in law enforcement that spanned 46 years.
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio scheduled a press conference for noon on Tuesday to announce Bratton's resignation — ABC 7 New York reports that the departure is Bratton's decision, and was not forced by recent protests against his leadership of the NYPD.
On Monday, as The Guardian detailed, protesters descended on a park near City Hall in Manhattan, calling for NYPD funding to be stripped and re-directed to black and brown communities, for reparations to be paid to victims of police violence, and for Bratton to step down or be removed as commissioner.
Bratton's adherence to the policy of so-called "broken windows" policing was one part of the objections countless protesters had against him — the notion that adopting a zero tolerance attitude towards minor, petty crimes and vandalism can prevent a more serious, entrenched brand of criminality from taking root, exemplified by not allowing a building or facade to have visibly broken windows, and by harshly punishing such crimes.
The broken windows theory of law enforcement gave birth, in many respects, to the city's hugely controversial and racially discriminatory "stop-and-frisk" program, focusing law enforcement resources heavily into black and brown neighborhoods, and creating an often-toxic relationship between the police department and its minority citizens.
There's no fixed date just yet as to when Bratton will be out, but it's already been reported who'll be taking his place — according to the Times, it'll be NYPD commander James O'Neill, who started on the force back in 1983.