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Monday, August 15, 2011

Number of Involved Ticket-Fix Scandal Cops Shrinks

Ticket -Fixing scandal: Number of cops caught in investigation dwindles to 12
The New York Daily News by Alsion Gendar and Kevin Deutsch - August 14, 2011

An NYPD investigation into ticket-fixing that initially targeted 40 cops has narrowed to include just 12 after brass and officers were let off the hook. The number of cops facing possible indictments in an exhaustive ticket-fixing probe has dwindled to just over a dozen, sources told the Daily News. Bronx prosecutors had initially targeted about 40 cops, but sources said they're focusing primarily on officials in the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, patrol officers and two sergeants. All of the cops were caught on wiretapped phone calls fixing summonses - some in exchange for gifts. No high-ranking members of the NYPD are expected to be charged, the sources said. The grand jury will likely vote whether to indict sometime after Labor Day. The timing has set off fears among NYPD brass that cops could be arrested and paraded in front of news cameras just before the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. "There will be bad blood for years if the DA announces this at a time when the city is honoring its heroes," said one police source, citing growing tensions between cops and prosecutors. The NYPD and district attorney's office did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for the PBA declined comment. Top prosecutors in the Bronx district attorney's office are also debating whether to seek an enterprise corruption indictment against the PBA, sources said. One camp is pushing to use the Organized Crime Control Act - the state's version of the federal anti-racketeering RICO statute - to prosecute the city's largest police union for fixing summonses, sources said. Even supporters of that strategy acknowledge the grand jury may vote down such an indictment because "it's seen as a stretch in terms of the legal theory that would justify it," a source familiar with the internal debate said. "None of this fixing gets done without the union, but winning an indictment like that is tricky," he said. "Beyond that, trying a case using OCCA can be a herculean task." The indictments will mark the culmination of a nearly two-year investigation by NYPD internal affairs investigators and Bronx prosecutors. Hundreds of cops were implicated, but prosecutors decided to only go after the most serious offenders, sources said. "At the end of the day, a dozen or so cops being charged is nothing compared to what the DA could have done with this case," a law enforcement source said.

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