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Credibility of Bronx Officers Questioned

The old saying goes: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” In the business world this is certainly true. Your business contacts made through networking may get you an interview, leads on new business or even help closing a business deal. Now, it appears that having contacts within the New York Police Department also has its benefits.

A probe by the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau has left dozens of Bronx police officers and union officials facing the prospect of criminal charges and hundreds of other officers facing possible disciplinary action for providing “professional courtesies” to other officers.

The probe found instances of officers asking other officers to make tickets go away by pulling traffic tickets from the summons box or by not showing up for court appearances or to forgetting facts of the case while on the stand. These courtesies were often used to help relatives and friends of fellow officers or celebrities, including members of the Yankees and City Council members, avoid speeding or other tickets.

A grand jury is investigating the findings of the probe and calling Bronx police officers to testify about their knowledge of the courtesies. Many of the police officers called to testify have been offered immunity in return for their truthfulness.

Impact of the Probe

The fallout of the investigation will be far more reaching than disciplining members of the police force. The New York Times reports that defense attorneys are using individual officers’ extension of professional courtesies as a manner to call into doubt officers’ credibility.

The Times reported in May 2011 that a man was acquitted of attempted murder and gun possession after one of the arresting officer was questioned about fixing tickets for his sister-in-law. The defense used this admission to call into question the officer’s credibility.

As the extent of the scandal continues to be revealed, the credibility of Bronx officers will continue to be questioned. If you have been accused of a crime in New York, speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to understand your options.