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Times Police Corruption Article 3-4-2005

Times Police Corruption Article 3-4-2005

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Published by: Street Vendor Project on Aug 21, 2009
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05/11/2014

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 The New York Times March 4, 2005 Friday
5 Officers Charged With Trading Favors For Counterfeit Goods
 By WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM; Colin Moynihan contributed reporting for this article.A counterfeit pink Coach handbag. A knockoff New York Jets jersey. A fake Yankees jersey with Reggie Jackson's number, 44, and his name on back. This unexceptional collection of sham designer goods, along with a handful of other items for sale cheapon many Manhattan street corners, was the price five police officers put on their badges, according tocorruption charges leveled against the officers, most of whom have been on the force for at least 10 years.Four of the five men were charged yesterday; the fifth and the peddler were charged last week. The officers were all assigned to the 13th Precinct in Manhattan, which includes Chelsea, wheresidewalks are thick with peddlers hawking knockoffs like designer handbags, sunglasses and piratedDVD's of first-run movies. The officers received the goods from a street peddler between July and November of last year, accordingto criminal complaints. In exchange, one of the officers gave the peddler confidential information aboutpending search warrants aimed at counterfeit goods, Manhattan prosecutors and police officials said at anews conference. Two other officers, at the peddler's request, chased away competitors from his favored selling spot on thenortheast corner of West 27th Street and Broadway, and one of them tipped him off about the seizure of counterfeit goods, according to the complaints.And two detectives, also at the peddler's request, issued a desk appearance ticket to one of his associatesrather than arresting him on charges of attempted assault, a law enforcement official said. Both of thosemen also gave the peddler information about the arrests of other people, the complaints said.''What these officers did is that they sold their badges for merchandise, for counterfeit Coach bags, for jerseys,'' Robert M. Morgenthau, the Manhattan district attorney, said at the news conference. ''This wasnot a huge amount of merchandise, but they were selling information on search warrants, giving favors,like making somebody change their location.''He added, ''This is all fairly low-level stuff, but this is the way official corruption starts.''In fact, the officers face far less serious charges than those in other corruption scandals, like a recentinvestigation implicating as many as 10 current or former officers with stealing large amounts of drugmoney and drugs. But several law enforcement officials said it was nonetheless deeply troubling that theofficers charged with selling information were apparently willing to do so for such a paltry return.As one police official put it, ''It's small quantities of merchandise and large quantities of stupidity.''As part of the investigation, Internal Affairs detectives watched the peddler hand over jerseys and otheritems to the officers, officials said. The peddler the officers chased away was an undercover InternalAffairs investigator, Mr. Morgenthau said.Mr. Morgenthau said prosecutors from his office and the Police Department's Internal Affairs Bureau,which alerted his office to the corruption, also used wiretaps. A law enforcement official said the officers

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