NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — NYPD officials have reassigned another high-ranking officer amid a federal probe into whether officers accepted gifts from businessmen with ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
On Wednesday, the department said Deputy Chief Andrew Capul was moved to an administrative position pending further review. His union said Capul wasn’t a target of the probe and the reassignment sullies his good name.
Capul is the head of Patrol Borough Manhattan North. According to a report in the Daily News, he was punched in the head during an Eric Garner demonstration in Harlem in December 2014.
Probers reportedly asked whether Capul took a paid trip to Las Vegas to attend a Super Bowl party.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, about 20 members of the NYPD have reportedly been questioned by the FBI as part of a probe into whether they accepted gifts in exchange for favors.
The action on Wednesday brought to six the number who have so far been disciplined by police Commissioner Bill Bratton.
Mayor Bill de Blasio was not happy with the expanding number of people caught in the investigative web.
“Those individuals – I’m not going to prejudge them; they deserve due process – but anyone who accepts personal gifts in the year 2016 is not paying attention to today’s ethics standards or the ethics training I’m sure they were given along the way, or didn’t have the wisdom to consult with a lawyer,” de Blasio said.
But de Blasio said the recent removals do not in any way compromise the NYPD, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.
Roy Richter, president of the Captain’s Endowment Association that represents Capul, said he is confident that Capul is not a target of the FBI probe. Richter said Capul has cooperated with the inquiry.
“Chief Capul is a dedicated and hardworking police commander,” Richter said in a statement “This administrative action sullies his unblemished career record.”
Bratton removed four of the NYPD’s most senior men from their command posts last week, and two of them lost their guns and badges. A detective who took the Fifth Amendment before a grand jury also lost his gun and badge.
De Blasio said there is no reason for the public to lose faith in their police force.
“Let’s just get real about the facts,” de Blasio said. “There are some individuals who may have made a mistake. They will suffer those consequences. But the entire police force deserves respect for the extraordinary job they do.”
De Blasio Brings On Attorney Amid Campaign Fundraising Probe
The probe has centered on two businessmen who have ties to de Blasio’s campaign. Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz both served on de Blasio’s inaugural committee and either donated or raised money for him.
De Blasio on Monday downplayed his relationship with Reichberg and Rechnitz.
“In terms of these two individuals, as I’ve said, I met them around the time of the general election; had not known them previously,” de Blasio said. “I have spent very little time with them in the scheme of things, and not much at all in the last year.”
The mayor has said he has not accepted money from them for his re-election.
“I hold myself and my administration to the highest standard of integrity,” de Blasio said. “We are very, very careful about doing things in a legal and appropriate manner. We’re very, very careful about disclosing the support we get. We disclose everything, and we welcome questions about it.”
Kramer reported that Barry Berke, the attorney who represented former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik in his federal corruption case, is now representing Mayor de Blasio in the campaign fundraising investigation.
The mayor said he hired Berke to represent his 2013 campaign and “reach out to the U.S. Attorney’s office and offer any assistance he could provide. We’re happy to work with them in any way that would be helpful.
De Blasio said he wanted Berke to find out what is going on since the feds haven’t called him.
“There’s been no outreach of any kind,” he said.
The mayor was asked Wednesday what donors could expect to get in exchange for their money.
“Someone who makes a donation, that’s their choice,” de Blasio said. “They should expect nothing in return.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose efforts have led to convictions for the likes of former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and former state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, made clear that he will continue looking for possible corruption in Albany and the city.
He said his probes will include the offices of Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo if need be.
“Executive offices in government are far from immune from a creeping show-me-the-money culture that has been pervading New York for some time now,” Bharara said. “Putting crooked politicians in jail may be necessary, but it is far from sufficient.”
Berke’s biography said he is the mayor’s appointee to the Lincoln Center Board. He is also a member of the board of advisers for the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York, for which the chair is First Lady Chirlane McCray.
De Blasio’s attorney did not return calls seeking comment.
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