Prosecutors want 17 New York police officers indicted for fixing tickets
A long-running investigation into possible ticket-fixing in the Bronx is expected to result in the indictment of as many as 17 New York City Police officers today, according to local news reports.
The probe has ensnared leaders of the police union and is apparently turning into the biggest scandal in decades to fell the highly respected New York Police Department.
A Bronx grand jury that has been hearing testimony on the case since March is expected to hear charges today against at least 10 officers that include grand larceny and tampering with public records, according to the New York Times. Others may be also charged with bribery, perjury, receiving gifts and official misconduct for fixing tickets from moving violations to drunk driving, according to DNAinfo.com.
Prosecutors in the Bronx apparently have targeted several sergeants and a lieutenant who has been questioned about leaking information about the case.
According to the New York Times, an investigation was launched two years ago on another matter involving an allegedly corrupt police officer, who owned a barbershop and had ties to a drug dealer -- in a wiretap, that officer was overheard discussing fixing a ticket.
Since then more than 50 police officers have been called to testify.
Most of the officers who are likely to be charged are going to be allowed to surrender rather than be handcuffed in their homes or precincts.
The probe apparently unearthed all kinds of bad conduct by police -- from covering up drunk driving by fellow officers to negotiating with prostitutes. In exchange for fixing parking and speeding tickets for friends, family and colleagues, police officers were given free home repairs and special treatment at Yankee games. A raid on a police union official’s locker turned up more than 240 tickets, sources told DNAinfo.com.
Already the focus by investigators has led several officers to ask for early retirement and a 62-year-old officer under investigators’ scrutiny apparently attempted suicide, according to news reports.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly apparently tried to stem the problem by changing the way tickets were recorded and later created a special unit to track tickets where the charges were dropped.
The New York Daily News is reporting that tougher standards have lead police officers fearful of getting caught up in the scandal to simply write fewer tickets. Apparently summonses for moving violations are down 44% for the week ending Sept. 11 when compared with the same period last year. And in some boroughs ticketing is down by almost 80%.
---Geraldine Baum in New York
Photo: An officer cites a car for a parking violation. Credit: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times