N.Y.P.D.’s Top Latino Official Resigns After Clashing With Mayor

The New York Police Department’s highest-profile Latino official resigned abruptly on Tuesday after complaining to colleagues that Mayor Bill de Blasio had insulted him, two police officials said.

The official, Fausto Pichardo, told his superiors and members of his staff that he would retire in November after less than a year as the department’s chief of patrol, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to discuss personnel matters publicly.

Chief Pichardo, 43, could not immediately be reached for comment.

A police spokeswoman confirmed in a statement that Chief Pichardo, considered a rising star in the department, planned to retire, but efforts were apparently underway to try to persuade him to change his mind. He visited City Hall on Tuesday, the police officials said.

In a statement issued later in the day, Bill Neidhardt, a spokesman for Mr. de Blasio, said that Chief Pichardo was “a deeply respected leader in the N.Y.P.D. and City Hall is continuing to have conversations with him regarding his future.”

His departure comes at a turbulent time for a department that is contending with, among other things, a sharp rise in shootings; cuts to its budget and pressure to rein in some of its tactics; continuing unrest over police brutality; and the enforcement of contentious restrictions in some neighborhoods because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Chief Pichardo has played a key role in confronting those and other challenges after Dermot F. Shea, the police commissioner, appointed him last December to lead the Patrol Services Bureau and oversee about 17,000 uniformed officers across the five boroughs.

For Chief Pichardo — a product of the city’s public schools who immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic as a child and grew up on Manhattan’s Lower East Side — the promotion was the latest step up the ladder for a 21-year department veteran widely seen as a potential candidate for commissioner one day.

It was also reason to celebrate for his fellow Latino officers, a group of whom waved Dominican flags and cheered him on from a balcony at his promotion ceremony.

Last week, though, his career took a turn.

Chief Pichardo, the two police officials said, was infuriated by an exchange with Mr. de Blasio that came after he had been putting in long hours managing the police response to protests in Orthodox Jewish enclaves in Brooklyn over the pandemic-related restrictions.

After working for more than 36 hours at one point, the officials said, he went home for some rest. When he woke up, he realized that his phone was not working properly, causing him to have missed some messages from the mayor.

Mr. de Blasio later summoned Chief Pichardo to City Hall to explain why he had not responded to the messages, the officials said. Chief Pichardo left the meeting feeling angry and insulted, according to the officials.

He became even more irritated over the weekend when the mayor contacted him repeatedly about a late-night block party in the Bronx, the officials said. Such calls would typically be directed to Commissioner Shea, they said.

“He’s sort of being treated like a chew toy, which he doesn’t appreciate,” one of the officials said. “The guy’s been working for 11 months straight.”

Chief Pichardo is the second top Latino official to quit the de Blasio administration in recent months amid the pandemic and out of frustration with the mayor. Dr. Oxiris Barbot resigned as health commissioner in August after Mr. de Blasio stripped her agency of a key virus-tracing program. Three other three-star chiefs, Lori Pollock, Theresa Shortell and Nilda Hofmann, have also decided to retire from the Police Department since the summer.

Chief Pichardo’s departure will also coincide with that of Mr. de Blasio’s top criminal justice adviser, Elizabeth Glazer, who is set to leave her job in the coming weeks, according to an official with knowledge of her plans. Ms. Glazer’s reasons for leaving were unclear.

Ms. Glazer, who declined to comment on her move, joined Mr. de Blasio’s administration shortly after he took office in 2014. She has served as an architect of the mayor’s criminal justice agenda, overseeing a historic reduction of the inmate population at the Rikers Island jail complex and dealing with the introduction of the state’s new bail law.

Alan Feuer, Emma G. Fitzsimmons and Edgar Sandoval contributed reporting.

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