William J. Bratton, commissioner of the New York Police Department, will step down next month to take a job in the private sector. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Bratton’s exit in a press conference at City Hall Tuesday.
Bratton’s departure follows a protest that began Monday, in which citizens organized by Millions March NYC occupied the park next to City Hall to demand Bratton be fired. Organizers said they were prepared to stay in the park until Bratton was booted from office. In a press conference that day, Bratton told reporters, “I have no concern about being fired by this mayor at this time.” Tuesday brought a different story with Bratton’s resignation, although some sources say Bratton had secretly been planning to retire and had communicated as much with de Blasio months ago.
Bratton has worked in the public sector for 45 years and started his career as a beat cop in Boston and also worked on the Los Angeles and New York forces. His career has largely been defined by an aggressive approach to fighting crime in New York in the 1990s. He served as Police Commissioner under Mayor Rudy Giuliani before being re-appointed by then-newly elected Mayor de Blasio. In an interview last month, Bratton told the New York Times he did not plan to stay in office into 2017 if de Blasio gets elected for a second term.
Bratton will be succeeded by the NYPD’s top uniformed officer, Chief James O’Neill, a commander who joined the NYPD in 1983.