The New York City Police Department appointed its first Black chief of detectives in the force’s 200 year history, according to an NYPD spokesperson.
Rodney Harrison, who previously served as the NYPD’s chief of patrol, was appointed to the position Wednesday, and will focus on detection and investigation of crime, CNN reports.
Harrison is replacing Dermot Shea, who took over as police commissioner after James O’Neill resigned, following his decision to fire former officer Daniel Pantaleo, who, in 2014, placed Eric Garner in a fatal—and department banned—chokehold.
Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, one of the architects of New York’s racist stop-and-frisk policy, congratulated Harrison on his appointment on Twitter.
In a previous interview, Harrison said that he loves to engage with young people throughout the city and encourages them to become police officers. He also claims that the NYPD is sworn to serve and protect citizens.
Harrison said in a statement that he is “humbled to become Chief of Detectives, a position I’ve always strived for, and will work tirelessly to build the strongest possible cases and bring those that commit crimes to justice.”
NYPD’s officers arrest Black and Latinx people at higher rates than their white counterparts. The department is also guilty of discriminatory broken-windows policing and “broken-taillight policing,” targeting and occupying economically oppressed communities and collecting billions of dollars in fees and fines related to traffic offenses.
Additionally, rape and sexual assault are the second-most-reported forms of police brutality, and the NYPD is no exception. In 2011, two NYPD officers were acquitted of raping a woman after seeing her home “safely” and re-entering her home on two additional occasions while she was intoxicated.
More recently, in 2017, former NYPD officers Eddie Martins and Richard Hall resigned after raping then-18-year-old Chambers while on duty, the Intercept reports.
And, as ESSENCE previously reported, New York police officers were accused of planting a gun after fatally shooting 16-year-old Kimani Gray in 2013–seven times, three in his back. According to various reports, the NYPD’s 67th Precinct, the precinct responsible for Gray’s death, may have planted guns on as many as six different people in order to make arrests.
These are just a few examples of the crimes committed by a morally bankrupt police department that terrorized the vulnerable people in New York City since its inception.
While Harrison’s promotion is being applauded for its “diversity,” white supremacy will always need diversification for its survival. The now top cop is undoubtedly excellent at his job, even when it means targeting communities of people who look like him. Hopefully, instead of just becoming the face of a violent police force; he does exactly what he said he would do: “bring those who commit crimes to justice.”
Starting with his own department.