Police Commissioner James O’Neill set to announce retirement

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Police Commissioner James O’Neill is stepping down as the NYPD’s top cop, multiple news sources reported Monday morning.

The 35-year veteran of the NYPD is said to be taking a job in the private sector, the New York Daily News reported. O’Neill and Mayor Bill de Blasio are reportedly slated to hold a press conference Monday afternoon to formally announce the commissioner’s retirement.

Neither the NYPD nor the Mayor’s office have confirmed details surrounding O’Neill’s retirement.

O’Neill, 61, became commissioner in September 2016, taking over the nation’s largest police force from then-Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. He originally joined New York City law enforcement in 1983 as a member of the NYC Transit Police Department, which merged with the NYPD a decade later.

During his tenure, O’Neill found himself and the NYPD at the center of multiple controversies, including the handling of disciplinary actions against Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who had placed Eric Garner of Staten Island in a fatal chokehold back in 2014.

Following a departmental trial which found Pantaleo responsible for Garner’s death, O’Neill formally fired Pantaleo — a move that angered the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association.

Earlier this year, O’Neill also issued a formal apology to the city’s LGBT community on the department’s behalf for its handling of the Stonewall Riots in 1969.

In October, O’Neill publicly expressed concerns over the plan to close Rikers Island and replace it with four smaller, borough-based jails. The City Council passed the proposal, which the de Blasio Administration supported, later in the month.

This is a developing story; check later for further updates. 

With reporting by Vincent Barone

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