NYPD chief of patrol quits after weeks of tension with Mayor Bill de Blasio that exploded during Orthodox-Jewish protests amid $1 billion funding cut to New York’s finest
- Fausto Pichardo, 41, submitted his papers for early retirement on Tuesday
- Pichardo was the highest-ranking Hispanic officer in the force and was well liked
- The Dominican Republic-born officer endured weeks of tension with the mayor
- Sources told the NY Daily News the final straw came last week
- Amid protests among Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn, he worked 36 hours straight
- Pichardo went home to sleep, and missed a call from de Blasio while asleep
- De Blasio left what sources told Pix11 were ‘unprofessional and rude’ messages
- On waking he returned the call; was summoned by de Blasio for a dressing down
- Dermot Shea, the NYPD commissioner, tried in vain to make him reconsider
New York Police Department’s chief of patrol has resigned after less than a year on the job, reportedly because of disagreements with Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York.
Fausto Pichardo, 41, was the highest ranking Hispanic officer in the NYPD.
According to the Daily News, Pichardo had endured weeks of tension with the mayor, who has been deeply unpopular among the NYPD for years.
Fausto Pichardo, 41, resigned on Tuesday after reported tension with Bill de Blasio
Pichardo, pictured with the mayor in January, endured weeks of ill-feeling from City Hall
The final straw was after last week’s Orthodox Jewish protests in Borough Park, sources said.
Pichardo worked 36 hours straight, then went home to fall asleep and missed a call from the mayor, the sources said.
The mayor left what sources told Pix11 were ‘rude and unprofessional’ messages.
When he woke up, he returned the call, and de Blasio summoned him to City Hall to give him a dressing down for not answering the phone, the sources said.
Dermot Shea, the NYPD commissioner, tried to get him to change his mind, sources told Pix11.
In the role, he oversaw a majority of the force’s 22,000 uniformed police officers, who are assigned to each of the department’s 77 precincts citywide.
‘Chief Fausto Pichardo, the NYPD Chief of Patrol, filed for retirement on Tuesday, ending an accomplished more than two-decade long career in the New York City Police Department,’ the department said in a statement.
‘Chief Pichardo, 41, was the first Chief of Patrol of Dominican heritage in NYPD history and has worked tirelessly in recent months to guide the men and women in uniform through a series of challenging issues that have strained the city and the agency.’
Pichardo is pictured at his promotion ceremony to assistant chief in January 2018
Pichardo celebrates after the January 2018 promotion ceremony
His abrupt resignation on Tuesday afternoon caught many by surprise, and was greeted with sadness within the force.
Jerry Keane, a retired NYPD sergeant, tweeted: ‘Wow! @NYPDChiefPatrol Pichardo is a nice and well respected Boss.’
‘Big loss according to a few officers I’ve spoke to,’ said John Seravalli, NYS Assembly Regional Coordinator.
Pichardo was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to New York when he was nine.
He grew up on the Lower East Side at a time when the neighborhood was considered one of the most dangerous places in the city.
He joined the department in July 1999 and rose quickly through the ranks, eventually becoming the precinct commander at the 33rd police precinct in Washington Heights, then commanding officer of the 43rd Precinct in the Soundview section of the Bronx.
Pichardo was named chief of patrol in December 2019.
‘I’m proud to represent Dominicans, Latinos, immigrants, my family. It’s what really makes me proud, having this tremendous opportunity,’ he said, according to Pix11.
De Blasio, mayor of New York since 2014, has a long history of run-ins with the NYPD
De Blasio, the 59-year-old leader of America’s largest city, will step down next year at the end of two terms.
He has long had a strained relationship with the police, dating back to his campaign when he pledged to reform the city’s stop-and-frisk practices, which the police credited for a decrease in crime but detractors said was institutionalized racial profiling.
In July 2014 he was confronted with the first major challenge of his term, when Eric Garner was killed by a policeman on Staten Island.
Daniel Pantaleo, who killed Garner in a chokehold, remains a New York police officer. The state of New York did not charge him, and the Department of Justice investigated the case and declined to bring charges.
De Blasio was muted on the issue, and maintains it is a matter for the NYPD.
Two police officers were murdered in December 2014 in response to the death of Garner – the first officers to die in the line of duty since 2011.
Many within the force felt that de Blasio did not speak out to defend the NYPD, in the wake of Garner’s killing.
Police turned their backs on de Blasio at the Brooklyn hospital where the bodies were being kept. Many more echoed the gesture at Wenjian Liu’s funeral the following weekend.
Law enforcement officers stand, with some turning their backs, as Bill de Blasio speaks on a monitor outside the funeral for NYPD officer Wenjian Liu in January 2015
Liu died in a Dec 2014 ambush after the death of Eric Garner. The gunman then killed himself
In February this year, when police were shot at in the Bronx, de Blasio tweeted his outrage at the violence — claiming the shootings were an attack not only on police but ‘on ALL New Yorkers and everything we believe in’.
The police union, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, replied by ‘declaring war’.
‘Mayor DeBlasio, the members of the NYPD are declaring war on you!’ the SBA tweeted.
‘We do not respect you, DO NOT visit us in hospitals.
‘You sold the NYPD to the vile creatures, the 1% who hate cops but vote for you. NYPD cops have been assassinated because of you.
‘This isn’t over, Game on!’