NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Officials took action Thursday against four high-ranking NYPD members amid a federal corruption investigation.
Deputy Housing Chief Michael Harrington and Deputy Inspector James Grant, head of the Upper East Side’s 19th Precinct, have been stripped of their guns and badges, and transferred, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced Thursday. Brooklyn South Deputy Chief Eric Rodriguez and Brooklyn Housing Commanding Officer Deputy Chief David Colon have also been transferred.READ MORE: Dr. Fauci Expects Decision On Whether To Resume Johnson & Johnson COVID Vaccine By Friday
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton was at a Police Foundation gala Thursday night at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel as the cloud of corruption hung over the department, CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported.
Earlier at a news conference, Bratton said after being briefed by the FBI, he knew he had to take administrative action against the four senior commanders.
“This is not a particularly good day for the department,” Bratton said. “The public has expectations of its public officials, of its police department and certainly the leadership of the department. If those expectations are not met, actions must be taken.”
Bratton ordered immediate training on ethics and conflicts of interest for all police personnel, at the rank of captain or above.
The disciplinary actions came as part of an ongoing corruption probe by the FBI and U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
The probe is looking into whether polices officers accepted lavish gifts and vacations in exchange for police escorts and security, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones and WCBS 880’s Kelly Waldron reported.
“The potential violations under investigation include violations of NYPD rules and policies, the city conflicts of interest rules, and federal criminal laws,” Bratton said.
Bratton said the probe is not over.
After his briefing by the FBI, he said, “The investigation is examining the conduct of current and former NYPD officers and several others.”READ MORE: NYPD: Teens Climbed Fire Escape To Break Into Bronx Apartment, Stole Jewelry, Cash
The list includes former Chief of Department Philip Banks, Kramer reported.
The probe has been going on for two years. But it picked up steam after investigators began looking into two Brooklyn businessmen with ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio, according to two officials who spoke to The Associated Press.
The businessmen, Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz, served on de Blasio’s inaugural committee in 2013 and contributed to his campaign. The officials who spoke to the AP said they had no direct knowledge of how the two were connected to the gift-giving probe.
Reichberg and Rechnitz were also photographed at a dinner with Banks.
A tap on their telephones turned up questions of influence peddling involving as many as 20 police officers, Kramer reported.
Sources told CBS2 the accusations being investigated included gifts of Super Bowl tickets, trips to Las Vegas, and in at least one case, a top-ranking police official reportedly selling captains’ union identification cards to people to help avoid traffic and parking tickets.
“We don’t believe, based on what we know so far, that this is deep systemic corruption throughout the department as opposed to perhaps bad judgment of a small group of people that were relatively senior,” said NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Legal Affairs Lawrence Byrne. “But we’re going to go wherever the investigation and the facts and evidence take us.”
The head of the Captains’ Endowment Association, which represents the chiefs, called the actions taken on Thursday “traumatic,” and called upon the feds to wrap up their probe quickly so the chiefs can “defend their reputations in an open forum.”
Banks’ attorney, Benjamin Brafman, insisted that his client has done nothing wrong.MORE NEWS: Lionel Virgile Accused Of Throwing Bleach In Officer's Face, Tossing Lit Molotov Cocktail At Other Officers In Brooklyn
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