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City Council Members Voice Concerns Over Police Chief's Resignation

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- Members of the New York City Council gathered at City Hall on Monday to voice their concerns over the direction of the NYPD in light of the sudden departure of Chief of Department Philip Banks III.

The leaders, who held a news conference during the afternoon with other advocacy groups, wanted to make sure the needs of minority communities are not being overlooked, 1010 WINS' Glenn Schuck reported.

"The two top black and brown people in the NYPD -- obviously this gives us cause for much concern," City Councilman Jumaane Williams said.

As WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported, Williams said he wants to see diversity coupled with authority.

The department's highest-ranking Latino member, Rafael Pineiro, announced his retirement in September.

City Council Members Voice Concerns Over Police Chief's Resignation

Williams said the changes don't install a lot of confidence in Commissioner Bill Bratton's commitment to change within the department, 1010 WINS' Al Jones reported.

"He's talking about diversity, he's talking about affecting change, then why is it all of a sudden the very ones up on top are now changed to white," said Charles Billups, with the black law enforcement group the Grand Council of Guardians.

"Philip Banks could have been one of the champions for us in terms of reforms," Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson added.

The resignation served as a catalyst for the airing of a host of grievances about the slow pace of NYPD reforms -- marijuana arrests being just one example, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported.

"There is still a disparate impact on who is being arrested for marijuana. When you look at the numbers everybody uses marijuana, but only one set  of people is being arrested for it," Williams said.

"This illuminates a systemic problem in the New York City Police Department that has gone on for decades," Assemblyman Karim Camara added.

The gathering came a day after Mayor Bill de Blasio and Bratton held a news conference at Gracie Mansion, ensuring their relationship is strong despite the New York Post reporting that there's a rift between the two over Banks' resignation.

City Council Members Voice Concerns Over Police Chief's Resignation

"There's all sorts of fabrications that are intentionally intended to harm," Bratton said. "It's disgraceful."

The New York Post report cited sources that claimed the mayor's wife, Chirlane McCray, was upset that Bratton let Banks quit, WCBS 880's Jim Smith reported.

"We've seen unnamed sources who make up entire conversations in their heads and tell flat-out lies," de Blasio said.

Bratton denied the mayor yelled at him over Banks' resignation, and scolded reporters.

"Where are your journalistic ethics in the sense of how you're presenting the story to the public?" he said.

Bratton and de Blasio also spent a considerable amount of time telling the media how highly they regard each other, 1010 WINS' Roger Stern reported.

"This is the greatest police force in the world. It will get even better. And I'm proud to work closely with Commissioner Bratton on that mission," the mayor said.

City Council Members Voice Concerns Over Police Chief's Resignation

Bratton said de Blasio was the best mayor he'd ever worked for, and added that the duo go on double dates with their wives.

De Blasio said his wife is also a fan of Bratton, despite reports to the contrary.

Posting on her website, the city's first lady bashed the reports, saying "This morning I woke up to a front-page news article that simply wasn't true."

"It's like the reporters created a fictional character that happened to look like me and have the same name as me," McCray wrote. "They put words into my mouth that I never said. They gave me opinions that have never crossed my mind. They made it sound like NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton is my sworn enemy, when in fact he has my full support."

The New York Post was still standing by the reporting Monday morning, Schuck reported.

Commissioner Bratton Presides Over NYPD Promotion Ceremony

And as the City Council gathered on the steps of City Hall over Banks' departure, Commissioner Bratton was presiding over a NYPD promotion ceremony at One Police Plaza that would have included the former chief of department, WCBS 880's Monica Miller reported.

Bratton promoted James O'Neil to chief of department and Carlos Gomez to chief of patrol.

The third promotion went to NYPD Assistant Chief James Secreto, who will now head the department's housing division, 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa reported.

"I grew up in public housing in Albany Houses in Brooklyn -- PSA 2. It's kind of laid the ground work for the person I am today," said Secreto, who is now the highest-ranking African-American in the NYPD.

Banks, who was the department's highest-ranking African-American official, announced his resignation suddenly on Friday.

Commissioner Bratton Presides Over NYPD Promotion Ceremony

The 28-year NYPD veteran had been poised to be promoted to first deputy commissioner on Monday.

Sources told CBS2 he had sought and was originally promised more power in the new position, which in the past has been largely ceremonial. However, after meeting with Bratton, the chief turned down the job and resigned.

On Sunday, Banks released a statement regarding his sudden resignation.

In part, the statement said, "I believe it is the right — frankly, the responsibility — of the Commissioner to select whomever he wants to help lead the department and assign responsibilities as he sees fit. In this case, while serving as First Deputy Commissioner would have been an honor, I felt that the position would take me away from where I could make the greatest contribution: the police work and operations that I love so much."

"While Commissioner Bratton and I both made good-faith efforts to bridge that gap, we were not successful. For that reason, I informed the Commissioner that I could not serve in that role, and he graciously accepted my decision."

Click here to read the full statement released by Banks.

The police commissioner and mayor said they're devoted to diversity within the NYPD and called media coverage of Banks' resignation over-the-top, CBS2's Matt Kozar reported.

"I hesitate to use the word reporting around these events. The fabrications, the sourcing if you will, is nothing short of outrageous," Bratton said.

Banks' replacement is expected be announced Wednesday.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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