Mayor Adams declined to explain Friday why NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell did not get involved in the controversial decision to invite Cardi B to a police event, instead praising the former chief of training. of the NYPD, Juanita Holmes, for making the decision.
Adams spoke in announcing the appointment of Holmes as the city’s new Probation Commissioner.
He said Holmes’s decision to invite Cardi B to an NYPD “Girls Talk” event at the police academy on February 24 “was a continuation of what this commissioner has done. This is her style.”
Adams made that comment in response to a question about why Sewell, who outranked Holmes in the NYPD, was not involved in Holmes’s decision.
“When I was a chief, and now as a commissioner, she respects the chain of command,” Adams said of Holmes. “So I don’t have any concerns because no one is being rewarded for breaking the chain of command.”
Adams deflected questions about the situation by joking that he wasn’t tipped off about Cardi B’s conspiracy, either, and justified Holmes’s decision to invite the rapper by citing a chapter from his own personal history.
“The only disappointing aspect of you having Cardi B was that I wasn’t invited,” Adams told Holmes during a press conference at town hall. “The same reason you brought Cardi B in is why people voted for me, because I got arrested. You don’t write people off.”
Adams also declined to directly address why Holmes overruled Sewell when the decision was made to remove the requirement that recruits at the police academy be able to complete a 1 1/2-mile run in 14 minutes and 21 seconds.
Sewell rejected the idea as he felt it lowered the standards. Holmes believed that by loosening the fitness requirement, more female recruits would make it through to the academy, a view she passed on to Adams through his City Hall connections and which the mayor eventually sided with.
Even though Holmes won that battle, the ecstatic between her and Sewell led to the decision to remove Holmes from the NYPD and place her in charge of the Probation Department, according to law enforcement sources. But an official in the mayor’s office said the measure had been under consideration for months.
Adams’ spokesman, Fabien Levy, said the decision to move Holmes to the role of parole commissioner was made this week, but did not specify the exact day.
Adams said Friday that his thinking on the matter was aimed at addressing recidivism.
“We need to find ways to make sure that people who are committing crimes don’t continue to commit crimes,” he said. “I need the commissioner to point them in that direction. We need to stop the recidivism that we are seeing.”
Holmes will replace Michael Forte, who served as acting head of that agency.
Forte appeared alongside Holmes and Adams and Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Phil Banks at a formal announcement of Holmes’s new job at City Hall on Friday, but unlike the three most senior officials, Forte didn’t utter a word at the briefing. .
Sewell also did not appear at that press conference, nor at a weekly remote press conference led by Banks. An official with the mayor’s office said Sewell was “out of town” on Friday.
When asked at her briefing about Sewell’s absence, Banks insisted that she had nothing to do with Holmes’ hiccups.
Banks said the purpose of the briefing he held was to have “different people” from the administration attend each week to address a variety of public safety issues.
“Get used to my ugly face every week,” he said. “Everyone else will move on and come back, so there’s no topic for the NYPD this week.”
Holmes’ invitation to include “Bodak Yellow” rapper Cardi B in the February 24 “Girl’s Talk” session at the police academy has drawn complaints from former city cop Sal Greco, who was fired for associating with Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone.
Greco’s field says the invitation violated NYPD Patrol Guide rules that prohibit police from associating with convicted felons. Greco’s firing was based on his association with Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress and sentenced to 40 months in prison before being pardoned by then-President Trump.