This is Philip Banks. Until recently he was the Chief of Department in the NYPD, the highest ranking black police office in the NYPD.
Philip Banks set into motion the events that led to Garner’s death:
An order to crack down on the illegal sale of 75-cent cigarettes in Staten Island came directly from Police Headquarters, setting off a chain of events that ended in Eric Garner’s death, the Daily News has learned.
Chief of Department Philip Banks — the highest-ranking uniformed cop in the city — sent a sergeant from his office at 1 Police Plaza in July to investigate complaints of untaxed cigarettes being sold in the Tompkinsville neighborhood, a source close to the investigation told The News.
“(Banks) set the whole thing in motion,” the source said.
The sale of loosies had been on Banks’ radar since at least March, when it was discussed at a meeting at Police Headquarters about quality-of-life issues, a police source said.
Banks’ office also conducted surveillance on Bay St. and took pictures, one of which shows three men believed to be involved in an illegal cigarette sale. The News reviewed the photograph and Garner is not in it.
At around the same time, on March 27, a caller to the city’s 311 hotline complained about the issue, saying a group of men had been selling untaxed cigarettes, and sometimes marijuana, on Bay St. every day for the past three years, a second source said.
The caller identified one of the sellers as “a man named Eric.”
Police focusing on low-level offenses was nothing out of the ordinary:
“That particular area of the 120th Precinct has been the subject of numerous quality-of-life complaints and enforcement actions for months,” Davis said. “Among the specific public complaints of illegal activity in that area included the sale of untaxed cigarettes as well as open (alcohol) container and marijuana use and sale offenses.”
A high-ranking police official agreed.
Garner had been arrested repeatedly for same offense, and pay close attention here:
But the 311 tip made its way to Banks’ office where “the untaxed cigarette problem on Bay St.” was discussed, a source said. A day after the 311 call was made, cops arrested Garner for selling cigarettes without proper tax stamps.
Cops found him in possession of 23 sealed packs of untaxed cigarettes and one open pack, officials said. He was arrested with untaxed cigarettes again on May 7, officials said.
Then, a week before his death, Garner was “warned and admonished” about selling untaxed cigarettes, a police source said.
After Garner’s death Banks remained silent:
Banks sent a sergeant from his office in July to investigate complaints about the sale of illegal cigarettes in Staten Island. A tipster had complained about a group of men, one named Eric, selling untaxed cigarettes. Cops eventually confronted Eric Garner. Banks has yet to speak about the confrontation.
Then on October 31, one week before he was to receive a major promotion, Philip Banks resigned:
Philip Banks III, the highest-ranking black member of the NYPD, quit his job Friday as chief of department just days before a major promotion was to take effect.
Banks, a 28-year veteran of the NYPD, told Commissioner William Bratton about his decision just minutes before they were slated to have a regularly scheduled 9 a.m. weekly meeting at City Hall with Mayor Bill de Blasio, Bratton told reporters.
“It is with great regret that I’m going to accept that resignation,” Bratton said at City Hall. “I think the world of Chief Banks. He’s been a very able, capable and loyal partner to me over these last 10 months.”
In December a grand jury declined to bring charges against the police officer who apprehended Eric Garner.
And let us also remember whose initiative this was originally- Andrew Cuomo, the democrat Governor of New York.
“It has been our consistent position that cigarettes should be taxed under the law and the courts have repeatedly agreed,” Governor Cuomo said. “The law is the law and we will enforce it. Everyone must pay their fair share, and that includes those who sell cigarettes.”
A black man ordered the Staten Island police to crack down on Garner. A black police Sergeant observed the takedown of Garner and was unfazed by the event. Anyone claiming there are racial overtones to this story is a liar. Anyone making this into a race crusade is doing severe harm to race relations. The idiots disrupting life in New York City live in a fanciful rapture of imagined racism.
If you don’t violate the law you don’t put yourself in jeopardy of being hassled by a cop. When do we have that conversation?