(Updates with not guilty pleas in second paragraph.)
Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Sixteen New York City police officers and five civilians were arrested and charged following a three-year investigation of corruption in the department, Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson said.
The probe began in October 2008 after the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau got an anonymous tip that a police officer in the 40th Precinct was engaged in illegal activities with a drug dealer in the Bronx’s Mott Haven section, Johnson’s office said in a statement. All of those charged pleaded not guilty today, a spokeswoman for Johnson said.
The investigation expanded after detectives discovered evidence of an “organized and wide-scale practice of ‘fixing’ parking and traffic tickets and criminal and other summonses,” the prosecutor said.
“It’s difficult to have to announce for the second time this week that police officers have been arrested for misconduct,” New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said in a statement. “Their misdeeds tarnish the good name and reputation of the vast majority of police officers who perform their duties honestly and often at great risk to their own personal safety.”
The announcement follows federal charges earlier this week against eight active duty and retired New York City police officers in an alleged scheme to transport M-16 rifles and handguns with defaced serial numbers across a state line as part of a $1 million conspiracy.
A special grand jury empaneled in March to hear the evidence in the Bronx case returned 22 indictments charging 21 defendants with 1,600 felony and misdemeanor counts, Johnson’s office said. All 21 defendants were arraigned today before New York state Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett in the Bronx, Johnson’s office said.
New York City Patrolman’s Benevolent Association President Patrick J. Lynch said forgiving summonses and traffic tickets has been a practice in the department for a century and asked why there is no probe of leaks of secret grand jury testimony to the media.
“Why it is mostly rank and file police officers here in court today when the practice of extending courtesy is and has been practiced at all levels of the NYPD for a hundred years?” Lynch said in a statement. “These officers should not be facing criminal charges for a something that has been a long standing practice at all levels of the department.”
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