Mayor Adams acknowledged Monday that the abrupt departure of former NYPD training chief Juanita Holmes from the department came amid a “difference of thought” over policy between her and Police Commissioner Keechant. Sewell.
Holmes, a 36-year veteran of the NYPD, resigned from her senior police position Thursday to become commissioner of the Adams Probation Department.
As first reported by the Daily News, the job shakeup came after Holmes angered Sewell by going behind his back to gain Adams’ support for a review of the Police Academy’s training policy. Sewell also took issue with Holmes’s decision to invite rapper Cardi B to an NYPD event without consulting her, according to law enforcement sources.
Last week, Adams and Phil Banks, his deputy mayor for public safety, declined to answer questions about the NYPD dispute.
However, in an appearance Monday morning on WABC radio, Adams said Holmes’s ouster came after Sewell informed him there were internal disagreements over the coaching chief’s push to scrap an Academy policy. Police that requires recruits to be able to complete a 1 ½ mile run. in 14 minutes and 21 seconds.
“At our normal briefing, the commissioner and I sit down, we have a briefing. In our briefing, she brought up the conversation about the race, and I just asked her, you know, ‘What are the thoughts of those who are training, what are their thoughts on it?’” Adams said. “She said: ‘There seems to be a difference of thoughts on how to deal with this.’ She said, ‘Bring everybody in and let me hear the different points.’
In the next breath, the mayor seemed to confirm Holmes and then approached him directly about the matter, but dismissed the idea that there would be anything problematic about it from a chain of command perspective.
“If people say that subordinates or those you supervise can’t come and bring good ideas, that’s not how I run my administration,” he said. “If a teacher has a good idea that’s at odds with what he initially believes, I want to hear both sides.”
The Police Academy’s physical fitness requirement ended up being rescinded, a change that angered Sewell, who saw it as lowering the standards to become an NYPD officer, sources said. Holmes, who was at one point under consideration to become Adams’ NYPD commissioner before he chose Sewell, had lobbied to remove the requirement because he reasoned it would allow more female recruits to come through the academy, according to sources.
On the Cardi B front, Sewell chafed at Holmes for not informing him about the decision to have the “Bodak Yellow” rapper appear at a “Girl’s Talk” session on February 24 at the Police Academy. According to sources close to Sewell, the commissioner found it problematic for Cardi B to appear at the academy, given the rapper’s problems with the law.
In the radio appearance on Monday, Adams did not address Sewell’s dislike for Cardi B, but reiterated that he thinks it was appropriate for Holmes to invite the rapper.
“If one said that Cardi B shouldn’t talk to young girls about how they should improve their lives because she was arrested, what does that say about me? You know, I was arrested as a child, and that was a learning experience,” Adams said, referring to his arrest for theft from him when he was a teenager. “And kudos to Commissioner Holmes for understanding that and doing the right thing.”
Adams also pointed the finger at the press for creating “palace intrigue” about the reorganization of the NYPD.
“You know this business, you know if it bleeds, lead. You can create a controversy without any”, said the mayor. “Basically, that’s the job of the media.”