A smiling Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker walked side by side to a news conference Wednesday announcing the latest city crime statistics.
The mayor passed over Tucker in selecting the next police commissioner, and for the first time, Tucker spoke about not getting the top job.
"Yeah, of course you're disappointed, right?" he said. "At the same time, you know, it's the mayor's call, right?"
The mayor is facing some criticism for not selecting Tucker, who is African American and has been the first deputy for five years. Some elected officials say the top job should have gone to a person of color.
Tucker says he was not offered the position that went to the chief of detectives Dermot Shea.
"I learned about it from the mayor on Sunday evening in a meeting we had. He informed me at the time that he had selected Dermot," Tucker said.
De Blasio also passed over Tucker when outgoing commissioner James O'Neill was appointed top cop in 2016.
The mayor says Tucker, who is a retired NYPD cop and a lawyer, and has worked for the Obama and Clinton administrations, is a great asset to the city.
"Ben has been in the forefront of changing the entire approach to training of the largest police force in the nation. Now, every officer is trained to de-escalate, every officer is trained to work with community members. We've instituted the body camera program. These are huge, huge changes that have been under Ben's purview," de Blasio said.
The mayor did not explain why he passed over Tucker. He simply said Shea was the right person for the job right now.
The mayor says he believes the NYPD's executive team is diverse, and that is not just about the police commissioner.
"Everyone up here has contributed. It's a question of what player you want and what position," de Blasio said. "So, you know, I am very, very confident about both the effectiveness of the appointments I've made and the fact that they reflect all of New York City."
Outgoing Commissioner James O'Neill will be a senior vice president and global head of physical security for Visa.
"It's a great company with a great culture. I look forward to it," he said. "I'm going to definitely miss my time as the commissioner of the greatest police department in the world. Never going to work with better people doing better things. So I'll leave it at that. I'm going to miss you too, Dean."
O'Neill says he will remain living in the New York City area, but he will be doing a lot of traveling.