Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is being sued for forcing out white women NYPD chiefs to fill their positions with people of color instead, reported New York Daily News. According to the suit, de Blasio’s shift was described as “the human reality for a few individuals” and aimed at making the a demographic of the department reflect that of the city.
Chief of Community Affairs Joanne Jaffe, the first female three-star chief, sued the city in 2019 for discrimination because she is older, white and a woman, per CBS. New information from the pending suit suggests de Blasio and former First Lady Chirlane McCray had an influence on why Jaffe was forced to resign.
According to the suit, de Blasio made moves to increase the presence of people of color in high-ranking NYPD positions.
More on the case from NY Daily News:
De Blasio and McCray wanted the senior staff at 1 Police Plaza to reflect not just the demographics of the NYPD, but of the city as a whole, according to the suit.
Fulfilling that goal for the mayor required the ouster of four white chiefs, including Jaffe, according to an amended complaint filed Friday.
In emails to then-Commissioner James O’Neill, de Blasio described Gomez’s retirement as a “situation” that would “only exacerbate the demographic tensions” in the city, according to the suit.
The mayor and McCray were so closely involved that they interviewed Jaffe’s replacement, Nilda Hofmann, months before Jaffe even realized she was being pushed out, Jaffe’s lawyer John Moscow said.
O’Neill is alleged to have pushed Jaffe to resign, giving her four days to do so.
In addition, de Blasio insisted Hofmann include her maiden name, Irizarry, in the press release to emphasize her Latin heritage, per the suit. In another instance, former First Lady McCray had pushed for former Deputy Chief Rodney Harrison (who is Black) to be chief of the department instead of Chief of Patrol Terence Monahan (a white man).
“What they did was unethical. The mayor was increasingly tinkering in personnel decisions later in his eight years. It got so you could not promote deputy inspectors without checking with City Hall,” said Chief of Transit Joseph Fox, per NY Daily News.
Having more people of color in the NYPD isn’t a bad thing, it’s a good thing but the race of police chiefs should not be the key to making city residents feel safer.