New York City’s first female police commissioner, Keechant Sewell, resigned on Monday, just months after being appointed by Mayor Eric Adams. According to reports, Sewell’s decision was due to ongoing tensions with City Hall and their apparent interference in her ability to do her job effectively.
Sources suggest that Sewell had to seek approval from City Hall before she could promote police officers, a task that typically falls under the jurisdiction of police commissioners. It is reported that Sewell felt like a puppet for the mayor’s office and could not make any executive decisions on her own behalf. For example, if a police officer had excelled in their work and Sewell wanted to promote them, she could not do it without City Hall’s approval.
This was reportedly not the only instance where Sewell’s authority had been compromised by the mayor’s office. She angered City Hall by supporting the Civilian Complaint Review Board’s decision to discipline Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey for abuse of power in a 2021 case. According to sources, City Hall had wanted Maddrey to receive a pass.
Sewell released a memo announcing her resignation to over 55,000 NYPD officers and staff, in which she shared some of her thoughts but did not give an official reason for her decision. Despite this, sources suggest that she was unhappy with the mayor’s office and their interference in her duties.
The mayor’s office was reportedly blindsided by Sewell’s resignation and was caught off guard. Sources indicate that they did not expect her to leave so soon. Many NYPD officers and staff were shocked by the news and praised Sewell for her dedication and hard work during her tenure as commissioner.
It is unfortunate that Sewell’s short-lived tenure was marred by political interference from the mayor’s office. However, it is not surprising, given the progressive ideology that dominates New York City politics. This incident highlights the challenges that women, particularly those from marginalized groups, face when navigating political spaces. It is a reminder that those in power must do more to ensure that everyone has an equal voice and equal opportunity to succeed.