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Department of Investigation

80 MAIDEN LANE NEW YORK, N . Y . 10038


TELEPHONE 2 12-825-5900

SUSAN E. SHEPARD
COMMISSIONER

FINAL REPORT OF AN INVESTIGATION OF MISMANAGEMENT


AND MISCONDUCT BY THE BUREAU OF WATER SUPPLY POLICE

MARCH 1992
Department of Investigation
80 MAlDEN W E NEW YORK, N.Y. 10038
TELEPHONE 212-825-5900

SUSAN E. SHEPARD
CDMXJSSIONER

Office of the Inspector General


Department of Environmental
protection
51 Chambers Street, Room 1032

DATE t HARCH 4 , 1992

I. INTRODUCTION
In November 1991, the Department of Investigation issued a
report concerning the management of the Bureau of Water Supply
police ("BWSPn), a unit within the Sources Division of the
Department of Environmental Protection (nDEPn) The report
concluded that there were serious, longstanding management problems
within the BWSP.
In response to the report, DEP transferred the Police
Administrator for the BWSP, Patrick Murphy, to a nev position in
DEP and began the process of finding a replacement. In the
interim, DEP Commissioner Albert Appleton appointed DEP's Director
of security, Frank Xunari, to the position of ~ c t f n g Police
~dministrator.
soon after he assumed his nev duties, Munari, during the
course of a review of BWSP investigative files at the Beerston
Precinct on January 10, 1992, learned of what he described as a

1 AR e ~ o r t on the Enforcement Activitv- and Overtime


practices of the Department of ~nvironmentalProtection Bureau O<
Water S u ~ ~ lPol
v ice.
*confidential, covert investigationm of a Muslim community residing
on 55 acres of land they own in Delaware County. The site
(hereinafter referred to as nthe compound*) is approximately two
miles, on a down slope, away from the Cannonsville Reservoir, in
the Town of Tompkins.
During Munarits review of the investigative file folder and
conversations with the BWSP personnel involved, Sergeant James Van
Tyle and Officer Mark Benedetto, he became concerned with the
conduct of the investigation because he was unable to ascertain an
acceptable reason for its inception. It was Hunarirs initial
impression that the basis for this investigation may have been
solely because of the fact that the community is made up of Black
individuals.
Munari notified DEP Deputy omm missioner Iris Weinshall of the
BWSP investigation. Weinshall instructed him to report his
findings to DOIts Off ice of the Inspector General for DEP ( n O I G m ) .
Subsequently, commissioner Appleton directed that DEPts Disciplin-
ary Counsel assist the OIG in determining whether there vas a
legitimate basis for initiating the investigation and whether the
investigation was properly conducted and supervised.

11. SUMMARY OF I W E B T I G A T I V I FINDINGS

Am ~xaminationof BW8P f i l e w07248811

On January 22, 1992, Munari provided the BWSP file folder


identified as "072488" to the OIG and was interviewed. Munari said
that the BWSP investigation was being supervised by BWSP Sergeant
James Van Tyle and the officer assigned was Mark Benedetto. Hunari
said that he has directed that the BWSP investigation be halted
until further notice.
Within the file folder are typed notations which report that
interviews were conducted with the following six persons:
1. The Superintendent of the Hancock Central School system,
evidently to learn if children from the compound were attend-
ing school2;
2. The Tompkins Town Clerk, to learn if taxes were being
paid;

According to Munari, VanTyle and Benedetto told him that


the School Superintendent said that the Muslim community sent boys
to the public school and educated girls at the compound; that the
boys were exemplary students; and that several inspections at the
compound determined that the education of the girls was being
properly conducted.
3. The Tompkins Town Building Inspector, evidently to learn
if inspections had been conducted at the compound;
4. The Fire Chief of the Town of Deposit, to learn about a
fire that occurred at the compound in December 1988;
5 . A neighbor of the compound, who may have reported hearing
gun fire at the compound;
6. A reporter for the Walton Re~orter, which published an
article in February 1988 under the headline, nSunni Moslems
Found Peaceloving Community in Tompkins."
The notations reporting these interviews are very brief and
void of great detail. They do not indicate who conducted them and
where and when they were held. With one exception, they are not
signed or initialed by a BWSP officer, or in another way indicate
who prepared them.
Documents in the file also indicate that the BWSP contacted an
ammunition company. In addition, the file shows that BWSP officers
on at least one occasion stopped and detained a person from the
compound.
On another occasion BWSP officers, according to notations in
the file folder, entered the compound on the pretext of responding
t o a complaint from a neighbor regarding a group of dogs running
around the area. The 'report describes a black male, Ifwho appeared
to be very nervous and uneasy with their presenceow During this
visit the unidentified officers recorded license plate numbers and
later conducted DMV and name checks with the aid of the Delaware
County Sheriff's Office. The report does not provide a time or a
date for this activity.
The file also contains the following external documents:
1. Four envelopes containing aerial photographs of the
compound, some of which were enlarged;
2. One envelope containing printouts of Department of Hotor
Vehicles registration inquiries;
3. Tax maps pertaining to the compound;

The file shows that BWSP conducted a Department of Motor


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1 Vehicle records check and, possibly, a criminal history records
check on the person they detained through the Delaware County
Sheriff 's Department.
4. The newspaper article described above;
5. Additional handwritten notes concerning motor vehicles
parked near the compound and other miscellaneous matters,
including notes showing the phone numbers of lav enforcement
agencies, including Interpol, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco
and Firearms, and the New York City Police Department;
6. The business cards and identity of two employees of a
federal law enforcement agency.
B. 1nterview of Bergeant James Van Tyla
On January 27, 1992, Sergeant Van Tyle was interviewed.
Van Tyle said that the investigation of the Muslim community
started as the result of a request from Officer Mark Benedetto. He
said that Benedetto had learned from a neighboring property owner
to the compound that an employee of a federal law enforcement
agency had left his card with the neighbor and requested informa-
tion such as plate numbers of vehicles from the compound. He said
that the federal employee never returned numerous calls made by him
and ~ e n e d e t t oand that he never learned the basis or purpose of the
federal employee's inquiry.
Without any further information, Van Tyle said that he
authorized Benedetto to commence an investigation. This occurred
in mid-1988. Van Tyle required no documentation of activities
conducted by the BWSP and failed to assign an official BWSP case
number. The matter was and still is referred to by the date it
began, "Report: 072488 Confidentialem
Van Tyle said that he is not aware of any criminal allegations
having been made against the Muslim community. He said that after
the investigation began, the BWSP received a report by a neighbor
of hearing gun fire and marching songs. Up t o and including the
day he was interviewed, Van Tyle was unable to describe any
information obtained by him or any other BWSP officer that
indicates that the Muslim community was involved in activities
which posed a threat to the reservoirs, the BWSP or anyone else.
Van Tyle described a fire which occurred on December 24, 1988,
in a trailer at the compound, which he said went unreported until
a neighbor saw the smoke and called the fire department. According
t o Van W l e , the fire department was denied access and reported
hearing live ammunition discharging as a result of the fire. The
Fire chief also reported seeing, mapproximately 150 to 200 Black
men and women running around the area.
Van Tyle stated that he was aware that on December 28, 1988,
Police officer Caspere Caratelli, then a member of the Town of
Deposit police Department, entered the compound posing as a helper
4
of the local sanitation truck which is owned by Caratelli's
neighbor, Donald VanDuser. Van Tyle said that he believed that
VanDuser was also one of the volunteer firemen who responded to the
fire o n December 24, and it was he who told Caratelli about the
exploding ammunition. Van Tyle said that Caratelli, who has no
jurisdiction in the Town of Tompkins, convinced VanDuser to allow
the officer to accompany him into the compound to ngather evi-
denceou Van Tyle said that VanDuser complied with the request
since he normally goes there to remove garbage. (In August, 1989,
~ a r a t e l l ibecame a member of the BWSP.)
Van Tyle said that Caratelli, while in the compound, searched
the remains of the trailer involved in the fire and discovered a
notebook which he placed under his jacket and removed from the
property. Caratelli also spoke into a tape recorder that he
secreted in a pocket as he moved about the compound. Van Tyle does
not know where the original recording is. He said .that the
notebook was given to Benedetto and eventually to Van Tyle who said
it was kept in an unsecured locker at the precinct. Van Tyle said
that he was unaware of the contents of the notebook because he
never read it and added that he does not think Benedetto did
either. No report exists which describes the contents of the
notebook.
I
Van Tyle said that on January 11, 1989, the sanitation truck
I owner, VanDuser, returned to the compound alone, having been hired
by the Muslim community to remove rubbish, and recovered a wooden
box of spent shell casings and live ammunition. Van Tyle said that
VanDuser turned his find over to Caratelli, who gave the box and
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its contents to Benedetto. Van Tyle said that the box was placed
I
I in the-same locker with the notebook. At the time of the inter-
view, Van Tyle produced the box of casings.' Van Tyle stated that
I neither the notebook nor the casings were vouchered. Van Tyle said
that under normal conditions items such as this would be vouchered
at the BWSP precinct. It is not clear what he meant by the term,
"normal conditionsen Subsequent to this interview it has been
determined from other BWSP personnel that there is no vouchering
system at Van Tyle's precinct.
Van Tyle said that he had informed his superior, Captain James
severing, that he was engaged in this investigation. He could not
remember when or what he told Severing or what Severing said to
him. Van Tyle made no record of this notification.
Van Tyle said that he personally informed Patrick Murphy, the
Deputy Chief, Sources Division, early in 1988, and again on at
least two other occasions about the investigation of the Muslims.
The last time Van Tyle recalls talking to Murphy about this

4 Munari, who was present dying the interview, discovered


live ammunition with the empty casings much to Van Tylets surprise.
investigation was in June or July 1991, during a helicopter flight
over the compound with the Air National Guard for the purpose of
taking aerial photographs. This was done in conjunction with a
search for illegally grown marijuana on a nearby strip of NYC land
known as wJohnny Brookew BWSP Officer Darwin Finkle took the
photographs. The cost of the film and developing was accomplished
at City expense. Van Tyle does not know if the City paid for the
helicopter fuel or if the cost of the flight came from State
coffers. There are no records to confirm Van Tyle's description of
these events.
Van Tyle could not provide an explanation for the need of a
second set of aerial photographs which merely duplicates pictures
taken by Pinkle from a fixed wing aircraft in January of 1989. Van
Tyle said that the purpose of taking the aerial pictures was to
nlearn the lay of the land in case they had to go in. There were
no reports prepared regarding Van Tyle's notification to Murphy or
the taking of aerial photographs and the pertinent expenses
involved. (No marijuana was found. )
Van Tyle does not know if Murphy's boss, George Mekenian,
Chief, Sources Division, or Joseph P. Conway, Assistant Commission-
er, knew of this investigation.
According to Van Tyle, a DO1 investigator assigned to the OIG
upstate Gardiner office was made aware of this investigation
sometime in January 1989, when BWSP asked him to obtain night
vision equipment for use during planned surveillance operations at
the compound. There are no BWSP records or reports reflecting this
matter. Van Tyle said that the investigator, William Pomeroy, was
unable to secure the requested equipment.
Subsequent to the Van Tyle interview it was determined from a
review of OIG upstate files that on July 26, 1988, Van Tyle had
telephoned Pomeroy and advised, "for informational purposes, there
is a black Muslim community living within 1 1/2 miles of City
property near the Pepacton Reservoirem r his matter, carried under
IG# C51/88U, was closed on intake on the same date. There was no
accompanying information that indicated why the BWSP were interest-
ed in the Muslim community. The OIG file folder contains a copy of
the previously mentioned news article and a copy of a BWSP report
signed by Benedetto, which was also found in the BWSP file.
Van Tyle said that to the best of his knowledge no other
records existed regarding this matter. When asked about notes that
may have been taken during this investigation, he replied that he
was unaware of their present location and indicated that as a
general practice they are not kept. (Subsequent to this interview,
it was determined that Van Tyle directed Officer Benedetto to
nclean-up the file and throw away the notesen The destruction of
these notes probably occurred after, the OIG asked Acting Police
~dministratorMunari to obtain the file from Van Tyle.)
When asked why h e had n o t assigned an o f f i c i a l case number t o
t h i s m a t t e r , Van Tyle r e p l i e d t h a t he d i d n o t consider t h i s a
c r i m i n a l i n v e s t i g a t i o n and t h e r e f o r e d i d n o t s e e t h e n e c e s s i t y of
a s s i g n i n g a c a s e number. He a l s o s a i d t h a t there a r e no BWSP r u l e s
which r e q u i r e t h a t a l l of t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s be documented and
r e p o r t s prepared.
Van T y l e was asked s e v e r a l times t o j u s t i f y t h e a c t i o n s of the
BWSP r e g a r d i n g t h i s matter i n r e l a t i o n s h i p t o t h e i r mission of
p r o t e c t i n g t h e reservoirs. A t one point h e placed h i s hand on t h e
ammunition removed from t h e compound and s a i d , n I n order t o
contaminate t h e r e s e r v o i r s you must have t h e w i l l t o do so, t h i s
s t u f f (meaning t h e s h e l l casings) t e l l s m e t h e y had t h e w i l l . m It
is p o i n t e d o u t t h a t t h e s h e l l c a s i n g s were n o t obtained u n t i l a f t e r
h e a u t h o r i z e d the s t a r t of the BWSP i n q u i r i e s ,
C. xnterview w i t h BWSP O f f i c e r Caspere C a r a t e l l i
BWSP o f f i c e r Caspere C a r a t e l l i was interviewed on January 29,
1992
C a r a t e l l i s a i d t h a t he h a s been a member of t h e BWSP since
August 1989. P r i o r t o t h a t he had been employed by t h e Town of
Deposit p o l ice Department f o r t h r e e years.
~ a r a t e l l si a i d t h a t he learned of t h e Muslim community when he
n o t i c e d " s t r a n g e r s w shopping i n t h e Town of Deposit. He r e c a l l e d
being t o l d by t h e Fire Chief and h i s neighbor, a volunteer fireman,
about a f i r e i n a t r a i l e r on t h e compound grounds during which
ammunition was going off and t h a t t h e r e s i d e n t s would n o t l e t t h e
f i r e t r u c k s on t h e property. C a r a t e l l i s a i d t h a t he t o l d these
f a c t s t o t h e BWSP p o l i c e "because they have j u r i s d i c t i o n i n
T o m p k i n ~ . ~ C a r a t e l l i could n o t explain t h e authority f o r t h a t
jurisdiction.
C a r a t e l l i described how h e accompanied h i s neighbor, Donald
VanDuser, i n t o t h e compound a c t i n g a s a helper on VanDuserts
garbage removal truck. C a r a t e l l i t o l d how he had placed a tape
r e c o r d e r i n h i s pocket and t a l k e d i n t o it a s he proceeded through
t h e compound i n search of wevidence.w C a r a t e l l i could n o t explain
f o r what purpose he was i n need of " e v i d e n ~ e . ~He a l s o described
how, w h i l e searching t h e f ire-damaged t r a i l e r , he discovered a
notebook t h a t he secreted under h i s c l o t h i n g and removed from t h e
compound. When asked why he neglected t o o 6 t a i n a search warrant
before t a k i n g t h i s action, C a r a t e l l i s a i d t h a t he did not require
one. H e s a i d t h a t t e c h n i c a l l y he was n o t acting a s a police
o f f i c e r s i n c e h e was working a s a helper on t h e garbage truck. H e
explained how it was proper t o remove t h e notebook because VanDuser
had c o n t r a c t e d with t h e Muslim community t o remove d e b r i s from t h e
compound.
<
I C a r a t e l l i was shown a typed r e p o r t from t h e f i l e f o l d e r which
h e s a i d is a r e p o r t c o n c e r n i n g h i s v i s i t t o t h e compound. He
v o u c h e d f o r i t s a c c u r a c y b u t he could n o t i d e n t i f y who p r e p a r e d it.
H e said t h a t he p r e p a r e d h i s own h a n d w r i t t e n r e p o r t , u s i n g t h e t a p e
r e c o r d i n g h e made t o a i d h i s r e c o l l e c t i o n , which h e gave t o
B e n e d e t t o . (That h a n d w r i t t e n r e p o r t is n o t i n t h e f i l e . ) C a r a t e l l i
s a i d " t h a t he could n o t produce t h e o r i g i n a l t a p e c a s s e t t e because
h e r e t u r n e d it t o t h e Deposit P o l i c e Department and t h e y o n l y have
t h a t o n e c a s s e t t e , which t h e y u s e over a n d o v e r a g a i n o n
C a r a t e l l i s a i d t h a t he decided t o e n t e r t h e compound without
c o n s u l t i n g Benedetto o r Van Tyle and t h a t no one a c t e d as h i s
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b a c k u p w h i l e he was i n t h e compound. ( T h i s s t a t e m e n t is n o t
c o n s i s t e n t with s t a t e m e n t s by Benedetto, who t o l d O I G s t a f f t h a t
C a r a t e l l i met w i t h him and Van Tyle before h e e n t e r e d t h e com-
pound. )
I

I
c a r a t e l l i s a i d t h a t s e v e r a l d a y s a f t e r he e n t e r e d t h e
compound, VanDuser found s h e l l c a s i n g s a t t h e compound i n a d i s h
w a s h e r , which h e s a i d was going t o be d i s c a r d e d a s r u b b i s h , and
I g a v e them t o C a r a t e l l i . C a r a t e l l i s a i d t h a t he gave t h e s h e l l
c a s i n g s and t h e notebook t o Benedetto.
I

c a r a t e l l i , i n j u s t i f y i n g h i s a c t i o n s a t t h e compound, which
w a s o u t s i d e of h i s g e o g r a p h i c a l a r e a of employment, s t a t e d t h a t he
h a d a n o b l i g a t i o n t o i n v e s t i g a t e t h i s community b e c a u s e they
f r e q u e n t t h e Town o f Deposit and shop i n t h e l o c a l s t o r e s .
C a r a t e l l i does n o t r e c a l l t a k i n g a n y o t h e r a c t i o n i n connec-
t i o n w i t h t h e i n v e s t i g a t i o n of t h e Muslim community.
D. I n t e r v i e w w i t h BWSP 0 f P i c e r Darwin P i n k l o
BWSP o f f i c e r Darwin F i n k l e was i n t e r v i e w e d on J a n u a r y 29,
1 9 9 2 , w i t h Frank Munari p r e s e n t .

F i n k l e h a s been a BWSP o f f i c e r f o r 1 9 y e a r s . P r i o r t o t h a t he
w a s employed by the Delaware County Sheriff's Department.
F i n k l e s a i d t h a t he first heard of t h i s i n v e s t i g a t i o n a couple
of weeks p r i o r t o b e i n g d i r e c t e d t o t a k e a e r i a l photographs by
B e n e d e t t o i n J a n u a r y 1989. Finkle r e c a l l s being t o l d about
ammunition being found at t h e compound, b u t h e s a i d h e was n o t
s u p p l i e d with d e t a i l s .
B e n e d e t t o made arrangements t o t a k e t h e a e r i a l photographs
w i t h a DEP employee by t h e name of Donny J a c o b s , who owns a fixed
w i n g a i r p l a n e k e p t a t the Downsville A i r p o r t , which is n e a r t h e
compound. P i n k l e s a i d that h e was accompanied by BWSP O f f i c e r P a t
Gorman. H e s a i d t h a t t h e t r i p took about a n hour. H e d i d n o t know
how J a c o b s was compensated f o r t h e f u e l . F i n k l e s t a t e d t h a t he was
n o t a s k e d t o t a k e t h e photographs because o f any e x p e r t i s e on h i s
p a r t b u t o n l y because Benedetto knows t h a t h e owns a camera.
F i n k l e s a i d t h a t i n t h e summer o f 1991, h e was a g a i n asked t o
t a k e a e r i a l photographs by Benedetto. However, h e s a i d t h a t t h i s
t i m e h e was t a k e n up i n an A i r National Guard h e l i c o p t e r and
accompanied by t h e t h e n BWSP P o l i c e Administrator, P a t r i c k Murphy,
who s a t i n t h e r e a r and had no c o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h him. F i n k l e d i d
n o t knov why Murphy was aboard. P r i o r t o t a k i n g a e r i a l s h o t s a t
t h e compound, F i n k l e s a i d an a e r i a l s e a r c h was conducted i n a n o t h e r
area f o r i l l e g a l l y grown marijuana. F i n k l e s a i d t h a t t h e h e l i c o p -
t e r p i c k e d u p Murphy and him a t t h e BWSP h e a d q u a r t e r s i n Walton
and, a f t e r b e i n g u p f o r about 4 0 minutes, landed a t White Bush
Airport.
F i n k l e s a i d t h a t Benedetto m e t them a t White Bush w i t h
Murphy's c a r . F i n k l e s a i d t h a t Murphy t h e n l e f t i n h i s car, and
B e n e d e t t o g o t i n t o t h e h e l i c o p t e r and went t o check on o t h e r
p o s s i b l e marijuana f i e l d s . F i n k l e confirmed t h a t h e took t h e
photographs contained i n t h e f i l e folder. N o photographs were
t a k e n i n c o n n e c t i o n w i t h t h e s e a r c h f o r marijuana.
F i n k l e d i d n o t provide a d d i t i o n a l i n f o r m a t i o n concerning t h e
i n v e s t i g a t i o n of t h e Muslim community.
. Interview of BIBP Officer Mark Benedetto
On J a n u a r y 27, 1 9 9 2 , BWSP O f f i c e r Hark Benedetto was i n t e r -
viewed.
Benedetto i n i t i a l l y s a i d t h a t t h e i n v e s t i g a t i o n of t h e M u s l i m
community was based on a r e f e r r a l from O f f i c e r C a r a t e l l i of t h e
~ e p o s i t P o l i c e Department. Benedetto s t a t e d t h a t , based on
i n f o r m a t i o n s u p p l i e d by C a r a t e l l i r e g a r d i n g t h e t r a i l e r f i r e a t t h e
compound, ' I t h i s community posed a t h r e a t t o t h e c i t y and o f f i c e r
safety." ( I t s h o u l d be noted t h a t t h e BWSP i n v e s t i g a t i o n began on
7 / 2 4 / 8 8 and, based on s t a t e m e n t s by BWSP p e r s o n n e l and r e c o r d s t h e y
created, t h e r e was no i n f o r m a t i o n a v a i l a b l e to them on 7/24/88 . .
which would have reasonably i n d i c a t e d a t h r e a t . )
However, l a t e r i n t h e i n t e r v i e w , Benedetto s a i d he was
u n c e r t a i n a b o u t t h e basis of t h e i n v e s t i g a t i o n . H e appeared t o be
c o n f u s e d and c o u l d not provide a s a t i s f a c t o r y e x p l a n a t i o n of why
t h i s c a s e was s t a r t e d .
Benedetto s a i d t h a t BWSP C a p t a i n Severing and t h e n BWSP P o l i c e
~ d m i n i s t r a t o rMurphy were aware of t h e i n v e s t i g a t i o n .
Benedetto s a i d t h a t C a r a t e l l i conducted t h e undercover
o p e r a t i o n a t t h e compound on h i s own time. However, h e s a i d t h a t
h e and Van T y l e m e t with C a r a t e l l f t o p l a n t h e o p e r a t i o n b e f o r e
C a r a t e l l i e n t e r e d t h e compound.
B e n e d e t t o s t a t e d t h a t approximately t h r e e veeks to a month
a g o , Van T y l e t o l d him t o clean-up t h e f i l e f o r t h i s case. Van
T y l e t o l d him t o type t h e h a n d w r i t t e n n o t e s and throw t h e o r i g i n a l s
away.
I n a c o n t r a d i c t i o n of i n f o r m a t i o n p r e v i o u s l y s u p p l i e d by Van
T y l e , B e n e d e t t o s a i d t h a t BWSP h a s n o vouchering system f o r
e v i d e n c e . Benedetto s t a t e d t h a t i n t h e B e e r s t o n P r e c i n c t t h e BWSP
has n o f o r m a l w r i t t e n p r o c e d u r e s i n p l a c e regarding i n v e s t i g a t i o n s ,
arrests, i n t e r v i e w s , t h e l o g g i n g of c o m p l a i n t s , the vouchering of
e v i d e n c e , r e p o r t v r i t i n g , o r even a w r i t t e n mission s t a t e m e n t . H e
e x p l a i n e d t h a t t h e o f f i c e r s " j u s t do what everyone else h a s always
done.
B e n e d e t t o explained t h a t t h e B e e r s t o n P r e c i n c t i n Delaware
County s e r v e s as the l o c a l l a w enforcement a u t h o r i t y f o r t h e r u r a l
areas. Therefore, h e s a i d , t h e BWSP d o e s n o t restrict its
a u t h o r i t y t o t h e Cannonsville and Pepacton R e s e r v o i r areas or c i t y
property. R e f e r r i n g t o BWSP o f f i c e r s , h e s a i d : "They are just
police ...
w a i t i n g t o be d i s p a t c h e d by t h e s h e r i f f ' s o f f i c e o r t h e State
w e g e t bored j u s t d r i v i n g a r o u n d t h e r e s e r v o i r s . ~
According t o Benedetto, he and h i s f e l l o w BWSP o f f i c e r s
b e l i e v e t h e y have t h e a u t h o r i t y t o i n v e s t i g a t e any m a t t e r brought
t o t h e i r attention.
F. ~ n t e r v i e wwith BWGP C a p t a i n Jamea Severing
On J a n u a r y 30, 1992, C a p t a i n James S e v e r i n g , who is ill and a t
home o n extended leave from t h e BWSP, was i n t e r v i e w e d by t e l e p h o n e
d u e t o h i s i n a b i l i t y t o a p p e a r a t t h e OIG.
s e v e r i n g s a i d t h a t he d o e s n o t r e c a l l when he was first
informed a b o u t t h e BWSP i n v e s t i g a t i o n o f t h e Muslim community i n
t h e Town of Tompkins, b u t he d o e s remember t h a t Van Tyle t o l d him
a b o u t it w h i l e it was a n ongoing matter. Severing s a i d t h a t Van
T y l e t o l d him: "We got wind of a Black Muslim community adjacent
t o city p r o p e r t y and want t o check i n t o i t o m Severing s a i d t h a t
Van T y l e d i d n o t t e l l him t h a t t h e r e had been any a l l e g a t i o n s of
c r i m i n a l a c t s reported i n connection with t h i s community. Severing
said t h a t h e d i r e c t e d Van T y l e t o c o n t i n u e w i t h t h e i n v e s t i g a t i o n
and t o write him a memo i f manything" developed.
s e v e r i n g s a i d t h a t t h i s t y p e of i n v e s t i g a t i o n was n o t unusual
a n d i n f a c t t h e BWSP have conducted similar i n q u i r i e s i n the p a s t .
H e s a i d t h a t they have i n v e s t i g a t e d t h e wWeathermen,n who were
located n e a r t h e Ashokan r e s e r v o i r and t h e "JDL,' who were i n the
Town of E l l e n v i l l e . When a s k e d t o produce t h e f i l e s f o r those
i n v e s t i g a t i o n s Severing s a i d t h a t t h e r e were no r e c o r d s k e p t
r e g a r d i n g t h o s e cases. H e s a i d , "No f i l e s , so t h a t it does n o t
become a p o l i t i c a l f o o t b a l l . Nothing was supposed t o be i n w r i t i n g
b e c a u s e it could h u r t a n i n n o c e n t party." Severing said t h a t
patrick Murphy decides what is and is not a npolitical footbal1.a
However, Severing said that he does not remember talking to Hurphy
or anyone above him regarding this investigation.
severing could not recall when Van Tyle advised him of this
matter. However, he said that after being told that the case was
started on or about July 24, 1988, it was his understanding that
the investigation only lasted two months and would have been
concluded by September.
Severing said that he had "heardn that aerial photographs were
taken but he was never informed officially and he never asked about
it. ~ccordingto Severing reports are made at the discretion of
the precinct Commanders and they do not need his approval to start
an investigation. Severing said that BWSP officers are not
required to memorialize all of their activities with reports and
other documentation.
It is Severing's recollection that Investigator Pomeroy of DO1
was aware of this investigation but what he was told and to what
extent he was advised, Severing could not say. .

When provided with the scenario reflecting Caratellits


warrantless search at the Xuslim compound, and asked to describe
how he would have reacted had he known of its occurrence at the
time, Severing said "1 would do nothing that would hurt the uniten
0. Interview with Patrick Murphy, former Deputy Chief lourcea
~ivision
On February 7, 1992, Patrick Murphy was interviewed regarding
this matter by the DEP Disciplinary Counsel.
Murphy was asked if he was aware that the BWSP had undertaken
an investigation of a Black Xuslim community near the Cannonsville
~eservoir in Delaware County. Murphy questioned the use of the
term "investigationn and explained that he was unaware that the
activities of the BWSP had ever reached a level that could be
characterized as an ninvestigation.a He added that he was aware
since last summer that the Beerston Precinct knew of the presence
of such a community and they had made occasional observations of
the community.
Murphy said that he had taken a helicopter flight some time
within the last six months vhich took him over the Muslim communi-
ty, He recalled that he made the flight with the Air National
Guard and that Officer Finkle was probably present. Hurphy said
that the purpose of the trip was to surveil the watershed area
after BWSP received allegations of marijuana farming on NYC
property.
Murphy stated that, after landing, there was a brief discus-
sion among the people present that they had flown over the Muslim
community, but, in his words, "no big thing was made of iton He
could not recall who was present. Murphy thought he recalled that
the discussion did arise that this community may be a i safe house.^
Murphy said that he had no knowledge of a previous flight over
the community or any intrusions onto the property.
Hurphy said that he had "heard" that the BWSP may have been
recruited to participate in a federal program to monitor the
location of certain subjects such as foreign diplomats from certain
countries. Murphy said that Black Huslims may have been on that
list. Accordingly, Murphy added that, although he was aware that
the BWSP would occasionally run license checks on people from the
~ u s l i mcommunity, he believed it was part of this program. (No
evidence was obtained to support Murphyfs claim that the BWSPfs
investigation of the Muslim community is part of a federal
program. )
H. ~ n t e r v i e wwith George Hekenian, Chief, Bouraea Division
On February 7, 1992, George Mekenian, Chief of the Sources
~ivisionand Patrick Murphy's direct supervisor, was interviewed.
The purpose of this interview was to determine to what extent
~ekenianwas aware of the BWSP investigation.
~ekenian said that he had never been informed of the BWSP
investigation of the Muslim community in the Town of Tompkins. He
said that his Deputy, Patrick Hurphy, should have informed him and
had he done so, Mekenian would not have permitted it to continue.
~ekenianwas shown a map from the BWSP case folder which identifies
the location of the Muslim compound in relation to the Cannonsville
~eservoir. Mekenian indicated that the compound did not appear to
be located within the watershed.
~ekenian does not know what procedures and criteria are
required of the BWSP prior to the commencement of an investigation
and he is not familiar with police investigative practices. He
said that he has not met with Murphy on a regular basis to discuss
the BWSP for the last seven years because of his other duties and
responsibilities.
He said he diJ not know that the BWSP, with Murphy's approval,
had taken aerial photographs of the Muslim compound. However, when
provided with the approximate date of those operations, Mekenian
recalled that at the time of the second flight w i t h the Air
National Guard helicopter, Hurphy told him that the BWSP was
assisting another agency. Murphy also told Hekenian that the
operation was being conducted at the request of the other agency
and made no mention of taking aerial photographs of the Muslim
compound. (No evidence has been obtained indicating that the
aerial photographs were taken at the request of or in cooperation
with another agency.)
Mekenian said that he was not aware that the BWSP had ever
conducted investigations of organizations known as the "Weathermenn
and nJDL.m
To the best of Mekenian's knowledge, his supervisor, DEP
Assistant Commissioner, Joseph P. Conway, has no knowledge of any
of the previously mentioned matters because Xekenian did not tell
him and it would be highly unusual for Murphy to have done so
without informing Hekenian.
I. Criminal Eistory Check.
Notations found in the BWSP file folder indicate that criminal
history checks may have been conducted on members of the Muslim
community. According to Van Tyle, Department of Hotor Vehicles,
name checks, and criminal history checks are routinely done for the
BWSP by the Delaware County Sheriff's Office without the necessity
of providing the Sheriff with a BWSP criminal case number. He does
not know what the Sheriff's Office places in its records as
justification for a criminal history check, which, according to New
York State Police Information Network (WYSPINR) regulations,
requires an official criminal investigation case number. Van Tyle
confirmed that he can obtain a criminal history check on anyone for
any reason and no record would exist connecting him to that action.

I CONCLUSIONS
The BWSP investigation lacked any reasonable factual basis.
~t was the product of irrational fears acted upon by a police unit
suffering from inadequate training, ignorance of the law, poor
management, supervisory paralysis, and boredom.
The actions of the BWSP demonstrate a breakdown of acceptable
law enforcement practices and a disregard for constitutional
safeguards. Without benefit of a single allegation or complaint of
criminal activity, the BWSP initiated an investigation, which
included a warrantless search, aerial photography, and record
checks on persons and vehicles believed to be associated with the
~ u s l i mcomunity.
The OIG's inquiry was greatly hampered by the fact that Van
Tyle failed to properly supervise the conduct of the BWSP investi-
gation. Not only did he fail to ensure that accurate records were
prepared by his subordinates but he also directed that handwritten
notes, perhaps the only true record of what actions were taken, be
destroyed.
The management of the BWSP in the Beerston Precinct is
extraordinarily poor. Minimum standards of law enforcement work,
from the preparation of reports t o the vouchering of evidence, are
not followed. Criminal history checks have apparently been
conducted in violation of strict federal and State guidelines.
"Secret,@@ undocumented investigations, have been conducted.
Supervision is equally poor. BWSP Captain Severing and Police
~dministratorMurphy knew of the ~ u s l i m investigation, but did
nothing t o insure that it was being conducted properly and for
legitimate reasons. Murphy's supervisor, George Mekenian, by his
own account, has not found time in the past seven years to review
the BWSP and its operations.
The DO1 report concerning the BWSP issued in November 1991
recommended that DEP review the operations of the BWSP and the
other enforcement, security and inspectional units devoted to the
protection of the water supply system. The report suggested that
DEP consider consolidating the BWSP and personnel assigned as
watershed inspectors into a single security force under centralized
command. DO1 made this suggestion because it was concerned that
the management problems and unprofessional culture in the BWSP had
become ingrained. The results of this inquiry have increased DOI's
concern about the unprofessional conduct and poor management of the
BWSP. It is recommended that DEP move quickly in carrying out the
reform of the BWSP begun by the removal of Murphy and the search
for a new BWSP Police Administrator.