Dozens of federal agents were seen carrying boxes out of the union’s Manhattan headquarters and loading them into a van on Tuesday morning as part of a “law enforcement action in connection with an ongoing investigation,” FBI spokesperson Martin Feely said.
Feely did not provide specific details as to what the investigation was about but the FBI also searched union president Mullins’ home in Port Washington, Long Island.
The investigation may be examining possible mismanagement of funds, the New York Post reported, noting that a high-ranking law enforcement official said the investigation involved “suspicions of mail and wire fraud, or misappropriations of SBA funds.”
Just hours after the raids, Mullins resigned from his role at the request of the Sergeants Benevolent Association Executive union’s board, as per a letter shared to Twitter.
The letter acknowledges that “it is clear that President Mullins is apparently the target of the federal investigation” and that the union has “no reason to believe that any other member of the SBA is involved or being targeted in this matter.”
“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 board wrote.
“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. However, the day-to-day functioning and the important business of the SBA cannot be distracted by the existence of this investigation,” the board said.
The union also noted that it was cooperating with the investigation and would update its members with more information as it comes in.
Mullins led the Sergeants Benevolent Association, which represents some 13,000 New York active and retired police sergeants and controls a $264 million retirement fund, since 2002.
However, he has often been seen as a controversial figure and has publicly butted heads with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD leadership, and has been outspoken on Twitter regarding a number of issues.
Last month he faced department disciplinary proceedings after violating department guidelines in 2020 when he tweeted NYPD paperwork regarding de Blasio’s daughter, Chiara de Blasio, who was arrested during protests over the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody.
Mullins’ department trial began last month but was postponed indefinitely after one of his lawyers suffered a medical emergency. His lawyer denies he violated department guidelines, and has argued that arrest papers with Chiara’s personal identifying information, including her date of birth and address, were already posted online.
As well as the department disciplinary proceedings, Mullins, who has been a police officer since 1982, is currently suing the department. He claims they tried to silence him in retaliation over his outspoken opinions online, which have included claims that officers were at war with city leaders.
Mullins has claimed a First Amendment right to speak out on behalf of the union, including regarding an incident when he wrote on Twitter that Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) was a “first class w—-,” and when he called former city Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot “a b—- with blood on her hands.”
De Blasio has some words for the sergeant following news of his resignation on Tuesday.
“Ed 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. That day has come,” he wrote on Twitter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.