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Civil Rights Leaders, Police Unions Weigh In On Change Of Guard At NYPD

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Civil rights leaders and police union officials weighed in Tuesday on the changing of the guard at One Police Plaza.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced police Commissioner Bill Bratton's retirement on Tuesday. Chief of Department James O'Neill will take over as commissioner effective Friday, Sept. 16.

EXTRA: 5 Fast Facts About Bratton | 5 Fast Facts About O'Neill

As 1010 WINS' Roger Stern reported, the Rev. Al Sharpton said he had mixed feelings on Bratton. He supported the outgoing commissioner for overseeing the end of stop-and-frisk, but blamed him for the broken windows policy of policing.

"I feel that broken windows policing is broken policing," he said.

As for O'Neill, Sharpton said he does not know the commissioner appointee well, so he wants to have a sit-down.

"Mr. O'Neill needs to immediately meet with civil rights leaders, faith leaders," Sharpton said.

As WCBS 880's Peter Haskell reported, Sharpton said for now, he will wait and see when it comes to O'Neill.

"But I do not know him well enough to have a judgment on him," Sharpton said.

State Assemblyman Michael Blake (D-The Bronx) does know O'Neill.

"The experiences have been thus far very positive. But there's a different responsibility when you take the top seat," Blake said.

On Monday, Blake, who is black, filed an excessive-force complaint against the NYPD, saying an officer handled him roughly as Blake tried to defuse an argument between officers and residents.

Meanwhile, various police unions also had mixed reactions to Bratton's choice to leave.

"A little surprised," said Lou Turco, president of the Lieutenants Benevolent Association. "I know he said he was stepping down, but I didn't expect it to be this soon."

Turco and Captains Endowment Association President Roy Richter told WCBS 880's Alex Silverman they were happy to hear O'Neill is taking over.

"He makes the transition smooth, and he continues on policy and practices that are working in New York City," Richter said.

In a statement, Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch thanked Bratton for his service during "a very challenging period for the NYPD and its members."

"We wish him well in his new endeavors. We hope that Chief O'Neill will make supporting and protecting police officers on the street his first priority when he assumes his new role," he said in a statement. "We look forward to working with him to make sure that New York City police officers are fully supported, with the fair compensation, staffing, equipment and training that we need to protect all New Yorkers."

Ed Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, issued a statement saying Bratton is "finally doing what is right for the members of the NYPD and the people of New York City."

"We wish him well and look forward to a new direction for the NYPD," he said.

Bratton once referred to Mullins as "crazy Eddie."

Bratton's is resigning to take over as senior managing director and executive chairman of Teneo Risk, a chief executive officer advisory firm that will focus on cyber risks, data security, infrastructure development, crisis response preparedness and more.

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