NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A Bronx ticket-fixing scandal has ensnared more than 100 NYPD officers, some who could be indicted as early as Wednesday. The rest face Department sanctions, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer has learned exclusively.
The basics are simple. A number of Bronx cops have been performing an NYPD magic trick. They made tickets disappear, sometimes in exchange for gifts.
The two-year investigation has at times been both shrouded in secrecy and the subject of much public conjecture, but on Tuesday Kramer learned key details of the probe.
Some 17 cops are expected to be indicted on charges said to include bribery, larceny, perjury and obstruction. Some 100 others will face non-criminal Police Department punishment.
“Some of that stuff is going to be indefensible so it’s going to be serious criminal conduct,” John Jay College of Criminal Justice’ Eugene O’Donnell said.
O’Donnell, a professor at the school and a former cop, said the scandal erupted because the system was broken.
“What this case is about is that apparently there was a point where once the ticket was submitted there was some doctoring of the ticket and that’s unforgivable,” O’Donnell said. “It sounds like some of this may be quid pro quo where people traded favors or money and that’s sort of indefensible.”
Sources said the case involves police officers, including a number of union delegates, and lots of wire taps put in place by the NYPD Internal Affairs Division. There are reportedly thousands of hours of taped conversations.
And there is another worry — the 100 or so cops who weren’t indicted, but were instead punished by the NYPD, may find it difficult to testify as witnesses in court.
“That could complicate their testimony in the future,” O’Donnell said. “The possibility is the taint it will attach to the officers, which will make their testimony in future proceedings a problem.”
The irony is that the investigation reportedly started by accident. Sources said a Bronx barber called his cop son to fix a ticket. Apparently the telephone was being tapped by the NYPD as part of an unrelated drug probe.
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