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Monday, March 21, 2011

Outcast Cops Still Rake It In

Outcast cops still rake it in
The New York Post by Reuven Blau and Brad Hamilton - March 20, 2011

The NYPD keeps 300 cops on the payroll at an annual cost to taxpayers of $22 million, though police brass don't trust them enough to give them guns or badges, The Post has learned. Hundreds of officers, detectives and supervisors who have killed or assaulted people, violated civil rights, beat up their wives or girlfriends, driven drunk or hurt bystanders languish on modified duty -- including one who's been sidelined for 12 years -- while still being paid their full salaries. The "rubber-gun squad" makes the Department of Education's "rubber room" scandal, in which 123 unseated educators cost taxpayers an estimated $9 million this year, look like child's play. These officers have been cleared of crimes or never charged, and the NYPD has opted not to fire them. Without their weapons, the mothballed cops are prohibited from fighting crime or responding to emergencies. Instead they do menial tasks that could be handled by civilians at a third of the cost. Among those who have kept their cushy salaries are three officers who fatally shot Sean Bell and a patrolman who fired five rounds at Amadou Diallo. The Diallo cop, Kenneth Boss, has been without a gun for 12 years but keeps his annual pay of $104,526, according to public records. Since 1999, he has collected more than $1 million. He and three other cops involved in the 1999 shooting were cleared of criminal and departmental charges, but the others quit or retired. "It's like the NYPD Gulag Archipelago," said Rae Kohetz, the department's commissioner for disciplinary hearings from 1988 to 2001 who now represents some modified-duty cops. Eugene O'Donnell, a John Jay College professor, former cop and prosecutor, said, "We probably have a small-city-sized department of people who get paid and don't do police work." The situation has alarmed City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. "With the Police Department facing even more cuts, any allegation of waste is a concern," he said. Diallo's mother, Kadiatou Diallo, decried the arrangement. "We need changes," she said. "Why does this individual [Boss] remain a police officer?" City law allows Commissioner Ray Kelly to modify the assignment of any cop found to be acting against the "best interests" of the department. Kelly can suspend an officer without pay for up to 30 days. After that, civil-service laws force the department to put the cop back to work, with full pay. If a cop has been cleared of criminal wrongdoing and violating police rules -- an expensive and slow process -- he can't be fired without the city risking a huge lawsuit. The NYPD has placed cops on modified duty 1,502 times since 2007, according to NYPD data obtained by The Post. The majority of modified-duty officers are shipped to city housing projects and sit in dark, dingy rooms gazing at security monitors in a program called VIPER, or Video Interactive Patrol Enhancement Response. They are not allowed to access computers or interact with the public. If they see something, they're told to call 911. Some are sent to work for the property clerk or city tow pounds, man switchboards, take phone complaints or even perform janitorial duties. In some instances, including the case of rape suspects Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata, the NYPD orders them to stay home and do no work at all. Boss -- nicknamed "Kenny No-Gun" -- spends his days doing repairs at Floyd Bennett Field and playing various roles in police drills and exercises. Modified-duty cops represent less than 1 percent of the force, an NYPD spokesman noted.

Rubber gun gang

NYPD cops who had their guns and badges taken away but still get paid to be on the force:

Detective Michael Oliver, 39
Nov. 25, 2006: Fired 31 shots at Sean Bell
April 25, 2008: Acquitted of man-slaughter charges
Annual salary: $81,398
Assignment: Paper-pushing aide in a Manhattan detective bureau
Pay since shooting: $325,592(estimated)

Police Officer Kenneth Boss, 39
Feb. 4, 1999: Fired 5 of the 41 police bullets at Amadou Diallo
Feb. 25, 2000: Acquitted of murder charges
Assignment: Floyd Bennett Field repairman, aide
Annual salary: $104,526
Pay since shooting: $1.2 million (estimated)

Police Officer Alex Cruz, 28
Oct. 15, 2008: Accused of covering up for a fellow officer charged with sodomizing a man in a subway station
Feb. 22, 2010: Acquitted of hindering prosecution and official misconduct charges
Assignment: unknown
Annual salary: $53,720
Pay since incident: $161,160 (estimated)

Police Officer Richard S. Neri Jr., 42
Jan. 24, 2004: Fatally shot unarmed Timothy Stansbury Jr., 19, on a Brooklyn rooftop
Feb. 18, 2004: Grand jury declined to indict
Assignment: unknown
Annual salary: $76,488
Pay since shooting: $535,416 (estimated)

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