NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Rev. Al Sharpton has called for diversity in leadership positions within the NYPD as the department reels from the surprise resignation of its highest-ranking African-American member.
Sharpton discussed the resignation of Chief of Department Philip Banks III and called for Banks to be replaced with someone sensitive to police and community relations during a National Action Network rally Saturday morning.
"Yes, I want diversity. Yes, I want blacks and Latinos in senior positions, but I want the right blacks and Latinos," Sharpton said.
Rev. Sharpton: Banks' Replacement In NYPD Should Be Sensitive To Police-Community Relations
Sharpton is not alone in his call for more diversity within the NYPD's ranks. The National Latino Officers Association, Grand Council of Guardians, 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care and other advocate groups gathered Saturday to express their concern.
As 1010 WINS' Roger Stern reported, advocates for minority police officers say Banks' resignation sends the NYPD in the wrong direction.
"It is a total travesty to see someone who has a career of Banks' now walk away. We lose so much ground in which we have gained," said Charles Billups, of the Grand Council of Guardians.
Billups said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton forced Banks out by promoting him to a position with little power.
Bratton denies that's the case, adding that he's satisfied with minority representation currently within his department.
"Ultimately it was his choice to step away from the assignment that was offered," Bratton told Stern on Saturday. "I think we have a very extensive minority representation in the ranks of this department. I'm quite pleased with my appointments in that regard."
Bratton told Stern that an appointment to replace Banks will be announced on Wednesday, and it will be someone that the community will be happy with.
NYPD Chief Of Department Philip Banks Resigns Days Before Taking New Position
Banks, a 28-year NYPD veteran, was due 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 Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, the chief turned down the job and resigned.
"The highest-ranking uniform position is the Chief of Department, not the First Deputy Commissioner, that's a civilian title. Banks did not wish to become a civilian of the New York City Police Department," Anthony Miranda with the National Latino Officers Association told CBS2's Steve Langford Saturday.
Banks posted on Twitter that he decided to step down because of professional reasons.
Sources said Banks was promised oversight over NYPD operations, but quit when Bratton had a change of heart.
"I had every confidence that he could fulfill it as well as the expanded responsibilities that we were going to put into that office, which was going to focus very heavily on our personnel development training initiatives at the academy and also the significant rebuilding of relationships with the minority communities," Bratton said Friday.
Bratton denied that he and Banks had any kind of blow-out or even a professional or personal disagreement, WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported.
"We were very simpatico in the understanding of the culture of the department needed to be reshaped after a number of years being focused very heavily on arrest orientation," Bratton said. "He was very comfortable and significantly involved in the reshaping of the academy training program for our new recruits."
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he was disappointed to hear of Banks' decision to step down.
"He has served New York City admirably during his nearly 30 years on the force, and we were enthusiastic about the leadership and energy he would have brought to the position of First Deputy Commissioner," de Blasio said in a statement.
Banks was officially installed as the NYPD's highest-ranking uniformed officer in March 2013.
Banks has been with the department since 1986 and was previously the head of community affairs. He is the second African-American to hold the top uniform position.
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