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Monday, September 19, 2011

NYPD Cop In Corruption Probe Attempts Suicide

NYPD officer in corruption probe attempts suicide
The Digital Journal by Pierre Waithe - September 17, 2011

A off-duty NYPD officer jumped onto subway tracks in the Bronx and touched the third rail in a failed suicide bid early Wednesday morning. The officer was one of several dozen being investigated by a grand jury in relation to a ticket fixing scandal. New York City police officer Robert McGee, 62, made a suicide attempt shortly before 5 a.m. on Wednesday morning when he jumped onto the train tracks and grabbed the third rail on the No. 1 subway line at the 238th Street station in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Shortly after his failed electrocution attempt, an officer found McGee at the station with a burned hand. He was taken to North Central Bronx Hospital where he is reportedly in stable condition. McGee's concerned wife, who made the initial 911 call that lead to his discover by police at the train station, described her husband to emergency dispatchers as "suicidal." McGee was supposedly despondent over having to take the stand last week and testify before a grand jury in a corruption probe over the widespread ticket-fixing scandal that has implicated hundreds of officers. He became even more distraught over the possibility he might have to testify against other officers at trial. Police superiors had stripped McGee of his firearm and placed him on modified duty because of fears he may harm himself. McGee is a 30 year veteran of the NYPD and a popular Police Benevolent Association (PBA) delegate for officers working in the 43rd precinct in the Bronx. In a statement to the New York Post, PBA Bronx trustee Joe Anthony further said, "He's our most senior delegate and very respected. He's under a lot of pressure from the job." The PBA is a organization that provides labor and legal counsel to NYPD officers. McGee had also tried to retire from the NYPD recently but was barred from doing so because he was under investigation.

The NYPD's Ticket-Fixing Scandal

The NYPD ticket-fixing scandal involves by some accounts as many as 400 NYPD officers who are alleged to have fixed traffic tickets as favors to family and friends and even some celebrities. Other officers may have accepted bribes to fix traffic tickets. Tickets were allegedly fixed by NYPD officers through the intentional loss of paperwork or by missing court dates. Because a ticket is considered an official municipal government document, altering it in anyway is illegal. Prosecutors with the Bronx District Attorney's Office (DA) and detectives from the NYPD's Internal Affairs division first launched their investigation into the ticket-fixing scandal last year. The probe began with a few police precincts in the Bronx and has only expanded since then. Investigators believe the scandal may date as far back as 2008. Though the corruption probe is largely centered in the Bronx and is being spearheaded by the DA's office in that borough, hundreds of NYPD officers from throughout the city's five boroughs are said to be targets of the probe. Allegations of NYPD officers fixing tickets for friends, family and the well-connected or accepting bribes to make tickets disappear have ignited a media frenzy locally. The scandal has also caused significant damage in regards to the public's trust in the NYPD and faith in it's integrity. NYPD corruption has not been seen at such a high level since the 90's. McGee was one of the officers targeted by the probe and was forced to testify by the DA's office before a grand jury last week about at least a dozen tickets he had fixed. While McGee testified with immunity and is not expected to face criminal charges over his ticket fixing, he was distraught at the prospect of taking the witness stand against fellow officers at a trial, according to The New York Times. The grand jury panel is reportedly set to vote on charges and judgement against the officers could be forthcoming within a few weeks. Charges that NYPD officers ensnared in the probe could possibly face include, bribery or misconduct charges which could result in prison sentences. Though hundreds of officers have been targeted by the probe, about a few dozen are considered to be the worst of the worst and could possibly be facing prison time. Many officers may also face departmental-based penalties which could range anywhere from loss of vacation days, loss of sick leave, being docked in pay, or transfer to an undesirable duty within the NYPD. Some officers may even face termination of employment with the NYPD.

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