New York City’s Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is expected to announce his resignation Tuesday following a heated protest calling for his firing and an end to police brutality.
According to ABC News, Bratton’s resignation comes as a surprise, as he was expected to continue serving as police commissioner through next year’s mayoral election. Appointed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014, the soon-to-be ex-commissioner originally planned to relinquish his post by the end of 2017.
“When I find the right time, that’s when there’ll be a consultation with the mayor. I’m not worried about getting kicked out of the place, fortunately,” Bratton said during a news conference last month.
The ousted administrator will be replaced by Chief of Department James O’Neill, officials say. Bratton plans to return to the private sector after stepping down from the NYPD.
His announcement comes on the heels of a two-day occupation of lower Manhattan’s City Hall Park, where nearly 100 demonstrators gathered to force a shutdown of the facility until Mayor de Blasio met their demands.
Millions March NYC, an offshoot of the Black Lives Matter movement, called for the ouster of Bratton and an end to broken windows policing — a controversial strategy pioneered by Bratton to crack down on petty crime and maintain law and order. The protesters also demanded restitution to the survivors and victims of police brutality and that the city’s police budget be redirected to minority neighborhoods, CBS New York reports.
According to city radio station 1010 WINS, one of the movement organizers became agitated when asked if the protesters would remain peaceful throughout their occupation of City Hall.
“I have to say I’m really tired of the way that people are always asking us to be peaceful,” Nabil Hassein, 27, said. “Why don’t you all go ask the police to be peaceful?”
Hassein also expressed his constant fear of police officers.
“Every time I walk down the street, I feel that they could kill me and that they are not going to be held accountable in any way,” he told the station.
Another demonstrator named Alexis Smallwood, 32, said she was there protesting on behalf of the residents of Far Rockaway, the New York Daily News reports. She held an orange sign in the shape of a life preserver that read “preserve our communities.”
“I feel like Far Rockaway is not being preserved for people who are there, and people who have lived there all their life,” Smallwood said. “My community is a community of color. It’s Black and brown and Latino and we’re all working hard together, but it’s the people at the top who tear us down.”
News of the protest spread like wildfire on social media with the hashtag #ShutDownCityHallNYC. Photos and live video of demonstrators toting signs that read “Police Have Too Much Power” and “Black Lives Matter” clogged Twitter timelines from Monday evening into Tuesday afternoon. Now protesters are patiently awaiting Bratton’s announcement of resignation.
— Stephen Nessen (@s_nessen) August 1, 2016
— #BlackAugust (@BlackAutonomist) August 2, 2016
— Alice Speri (@alicesperi) August 1, 2016
— Keegan Stephan (@KeeganNYC) August 2, 2016