What started out as an Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB) investigation into one cop's alleged ties to a drug gang has resulted in the indictment of 17 of his fellow officers in a wide ranging ticket-fixing scandal. When former union delegate José Ramos was heard talking about fixing a ticket on a wire-tap it triggered a broader IAB probe into the time honored practice of ticket-fixing.
As news of the indictments spread on Friday a source inside a Bronx precinct told the New York Post "The Mood is the lowest I've ever seen since Sept. 11," adding that "it's disgusting, and the department is only getting worse."
The cops, including police union delegates, allegedly fixed tickets issued to officers and their relatives or friends. Some allegedly took cash, liquor and other gifts as gratitude for getting the tickets tossed.
The grand jury began approving the indictments this week after a three year IAB probe.
Sources critical of the probe told The Post that during the grand jury investigation, Bronx prosecutors routinely stopped or changed the line of questioning when officers testified that a supervisor had asked them to fix a ticket
Defense lawyers plan to bring that allegation up during the officers' trials and reveal the names of those supervisors--some as high ranking as chiefs.
Meanwhile the mood at the NYPD Captain's Endowment Association (CEA) was jubilant after Governor Cuomo signed a bill into law which protects the pensions of 20 year NYPD officers who are terminated for wrongdoing. A triumphant letter from CEA President Roy T. Richter which was posted in The Rant, proclaimed:
I am pleased to report that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has signed the "Guaranteed Pension after 20 Years of Service" bill into LAW!
This new law amends the New York City Administrative Code to protect uniformed police and fire officers, with 20 or more years of service, from losing their pensions if they are fired. The exception to this protection is if the member is convicted under the laws of New York State for a felony, or the laws of another state of an offence, if committed in the State of New York, that would be a felony.
Minor violations and misdemeanors like ticket-fixing would not cause the an officer who was terminated for misconduct to lose his pension. The bill states that if an officer is terminated after 20 years of credible service, they shall be "DEEMED TO BE RETIRED ON THE DATE OF HIS OR HER DISCHARGE OR DISMISSAL FROM SERVICE," which protects and guarantees the pension of the officer in question.
The New York Post reports that last month Mayor Bloomberg sent a letter to Governor Cuomo arguing that the bill "would remove a powerful incentive for long term employees to honor their oaths of office." One can only wonder how many of the 17 officers under indictment and how many of their supervisors have reached the 20 year plateau.
September 24, 2011