NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Shocking video has surfaced, documenting the easy access achieved by a pair of donors to Mayor Bill de Blasio who reportedly used gifts and bribes to weasel their way into the very heart of the New York Police Department.
A photo taken at a dinner showing donors Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz bracketing then-NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks takes on a new whole new meaning in light of the astonishing dash cam video played out at Reichberg’s trial on charges of bribing police officers.
The video shows Reichberg and Rechnitz, who has already pleaded guilty and is testifying as a government witness, somehow gain access to the heavily protected underground garage at the department’s headquarters in lower Manhattan.
“We’re passing the frozen zone, about to get to the garage,” Rechnitz can be heard saying on video.
He then boasted about their ties to Banks, at the time the top uniformed cop in the city.
“We’re going to go park in the chief of department’s extra spot,” Rechnitz said.
The pair’s brazen belief in how much access their money has given them was on full display as they approached a cop standing guard in the cold.
“Please salute us, officer, if you want to keep your job,” Rechnitz boasted.
Then, they can be heard barking orders as they entered the garage — a place that’s even off-limits to rank and file cops.
“I would expect that the chief, the PC, sent us a representative to walk us up to the private elevator,” Rechnitz said. “I expect nothing less.”
Banks, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing, did in fact send an escort who can be seen greeting the pair effusively. Jurors were also shown pictures and video of the pair wearing Santa Claus hats and driving a black Aston Martin to deliver Christmas presents to officers, but it was the unfettered access to police headquarters that’s riled police experts.
“This is totally outrageous to give people who aren’t members of the service this kind of access,” expert Joe Giacalone said. “When you do something like this, you corrupt the entire organization.”
Banks’ lawyer, Ben Brafman, told CBS2 his client would not comment on any evidence in the trial which resumes on Friday.