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Thursday, June 25, 2009

NYPD Detective Found Guilty of Perjury

The New York Post by DENISE BUFFA, MURRAY WEISS and ANDY GELLER - June 25, 2009

It was approaching midnight when Bronx Detective Christopher Perino confronted Erik Crespo in the interview room of the 44th Precinct station house on New Year's Eve 2005. Crespo, then 17, had been caught on a surveillance camera shooting John Torres, 24, and Perino was trying to establish a rapport with the teen. The interrogation set in motion a chain of events that resulted in the detective being convicted of perjury yesterday after a nonjury trial. Back in 2005, Perino told Crespo he could beat the rap because he had a clean record. But first, he had to reveal where the gun was. "I want the gun, all right? I want the gun," Perino said. "Don't make it hard for me, 'cause I could keep you here all night. I can keep you here all tomorrow morning. I can make sure that you don't see the judge for the next three days." But Crespo remained vague about the gun. "There's enough cops that have been killed," the detective said later. "There's enough innocent people that have been killed. Maybe your mother or your little sister could be walking down the street someday and, God for bid, they take a bullet." As Perino was doing what any detective would do to get a confession out of someone he knew was guilty, Crespo slyly recorded the entire 75-minute interrogation on an MP3 player he had in his pocket. Perino then dug a hole for himself he couldn't climb out from when he lied under oath at Crespo's attempted-murder trial and said he never grilled the teen. Perino, 43, who had been on the police force for 19½ years before he made the fateful decision to commit perjury on the witness stand, was suspended without pay yesterday pending termination by the NYPD. The lie will cost the third-grade detective his $80,000 annual salary, his pension of $41,300 a year once he retired -- and, more than likely, his freedom when he's sentenced Aug. 18. In grilling the teen, Perino made two crucial mistakes. He failed to read him his Miranda rights and he didn't frisk him. Another cop frisked Crespo, but failed to find a little red MP3 player the teen received for Christmas, sources said. The player could record and -- unknown to Perino -- Crespo documented the entire conversation. For the next 15 months, the veteran sleuth had no idea that a 62-page, 16,000-word transcript of interrogation existed. "Now, you said on direct examination that you never asked him any questions when you were alone with him in the [interview] room on Dec. 31, 2005, isn't that true?" asked Crespo's lawyer, Mark DeMarco during the teen's 2007 trial. "That's correct. He wasn't questioned," Perino replied. DeMarco then whipped out the transcript and Perino was charged with perjury. The NYPD veteran was convicted yesterday by Judge James Kindler and faces up to seven years behind bars -- the exact same sentence Crespo is currently serving after pleading guilty to weapons possession. At his trial, Perino first claimed he had forgotten grilling Crespo because he had questioned 50 people since then. He subsequently testified he had a 10-minute conversation with Crespo, not a 75-minute interrogation. A close friend said Perino is devastated by his conviction. "He only wanted to be a cop. He loved being a cop. He worked in a specialized violent crime unit that got guns off the street," the police pal said. "Now he has lost everything."


Anonymous said...

good for his fucking ass the police officers at the 44th preceint is criminals and thugs themselves that harass and stop people in the bronx for no reaso without probable cause. The officer probably had a history of being dishonest but never got caught in the 19 and half years. The sad reality is that especially the 44th precint still has perphaps just as many dishonest criminal minded cops on the force in the year 2010. Once again the officer crespo got exactly what he deserved.

Anonymous said...

Good, I hope he lose his pension, health benefits and gets reduced to beggary in old age.