The controversial president of the NYC Sergeants Benevolent Association resigned from his position late Monday night, the union's executive board said in a message to members, after his home and the Manhattan headquarters were raided by the FBI in connection with a criminal probe being overseen by federal prosecutors
"This morning, as you are no doubt aware, agents with the FBI and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York executed a search warrant at the headquarters of the Sergeants Benevolent Association and the residence of President Ed Mullins," the message from the SBA Executive Board to members read. "The nature and scope of this criminal investigation has yet to be determined. However, it is clear that President Mullins is apparently the target of the federal investigation.
"Given the severity of this matter and the uncertainty of its outcome, the SBA Executive Board has requested that President Mullins resign from his position as SBA President. This evening, President Mullins has agreed to tender his resignation as President of the SBA," the message continued.
The FBI confirmed the bureau executed the search warrant at the police union's offices, as well as Mullins' home in Port Washington. FBI spokesperson Martin Feely said agents were “carrying out a law enforcement action in connection with an ongoing investigation."
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Agents were seen carrying boxes out of the union’s Manhattan headquarters and loading them into a van. Mullins returned to his home Monday afternoon, and left after a short time. He did not speak with reporters.
It was not immediately clear, however, who or what prosecutors and the FBI are investigating. In the letter to members, the SBA said it would cooperate with the investigation.
"Like all of us, Ed Mullins is entitled to the presumption of innocence, and we ask you to withhold judgment until all the facts have been established," the letter read. "However, the day to day functioning and the important business of the SBA cannot be distracted by the existence of this investigation."
The SBA represents 13,000 current and former members of the NYPD, according to its website, and controls a $264 million retirement fund; it describes itself as the fifth-largest police union in America. An attorney for the union did not immediately return a call for comment.
Mullins is a controversial figure who has publicly sparred with Mayor Bill de Blasio and with NYPD leadership. De Blasio on Tuesday confirmed the raid at the SBA's office and said at a press conference that Mullins has been "a divisive voice," before tweeting some stronger words later in the evening following the resignation.
The mayor said that Mullins "dishonored his uniform, his city and his union more times than I can count. It was just a matter of time before his endless hatred would catch up with him."
Last month Mullins faced an NYPD internal trial on a variety of administrative charges, including for an episode where he tweeted an arrest record for the mayor's daughter. The department trial began last month but was postponed indefinitely after one of his lawyers suffered a medical emergency.
Mullins’ lawyer denies he violated department guidelines, arguing arrest papers with Chiara de Blasio’s personal identifying information, such as her date of birth and address, were already posted online.
Mullins is also suing the department, claiming they were trying to muzzle him by grilling him and recommending disciplinary action over his online missives, which have included claims that officers were at war with city leaders.
Mullins, a police officer since 1982, rose to sergeant, a rank above detective but below captain and lieutenant, in 1993 and was elected president of the sergeants union in 2002. Under Mullins' leadership, the union has fought for better pay — with contracts resulting in pay increases of 40% — and staked a prominent position in the anti-reform movement.
Though he's a full-time union chief, city law has allowed Mullins to retain his sergeant's position and collect salaries from both the union and the police department. Last year, Mullins made more than $220,000 between the two, according to public records: $88,757 from the union and $133,195 from the NYPD.
The NYPD referred questions about Mullins to the FBI.
Along with Mullins' periodic appearances on cable networks like Fox News and Newsmax — including one in which he was pictured in front of a QAnon mug — perhaps the union’s most powerful megaphone is its 45,000-follower Twitter account, which Mullins runs himself, often to fiery effect.
In 2018, amid a rash of incidents in which police officers were doused with water, Mullins suggested it was time for then-Commissioner James O’Neill and Chief of Department Terence Monahan to “consider another profession” and tweeted that “O’KNEEL must go!”
O’Neill retorted that Mullins was “a bit of a keyboard gangster” who seldom showed up to department functions.
Last year, Mullins came under fire for tweets calling the city’s former Health Commissioner, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, a “b---h” and U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres a “first-class w---e.”
Mullins was upset over reports Barbot refused to give face masks to police in the early days of the pandemic and angry with Torres’ calls for an investigation into a potential police work slowdown in September 2020.
Torres, who is gay, denounced Mullins’ tweet as homophobic.
On Tuesday, Torres referenced that tweet in reacting to the news of the raid, writing: “Ed Mullins, who famously called me a ‘first-class w---e’ for daring to ask questions about the @SBANYPD, just got a first-class raid from the FBI.”
In 2019, it wasn’t tweets that got Mullins in trouble, but rather comments he made in a radio interview suggesting that slain Barnard College student Tessa Majors had gone to the park where she was killed to buy marijuana. Police later arrested three teens, saying she’d been stabbed during an attempted robbery.
Majors’ family called Mullins’ remarks on the radio show “deeply inappropriate” victim blaming and urged him “not to engage in such irresponsible public speculation.”