According to a press release from Preet Bahrara, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, NYPD Deputy Chief MICHAEL HARRINGTON, Deputy Inspector JAMES GRANT, and Sergeant DAVID VILLANUEVA were arrested today, along with a Brooklyn-based man, JEREMY REICHBERG, on bribery charges.
“Harrington, Grant, and Villanueva were charged in Manhattan federal court with conspiring to commit honest services wire fraud for a bribery scheme involving the receipt of tens of thousands of dollars in meals, trips, home renovations, and other benefits in exchange for an array of official NYPD actions, including private police escorts, ticket fixing, and assistance in settling private disputes. VILLANUEVA, formerly a supervisor in the NYPD’s gun licensing division, was charged in Manhattan federal court with bribery offenses in connection with his receipt of cash bribes to expedite and approve gun licenses.”
Here is a link to an Associated Press story which appeared in the San Diego Union-Tribune. It was headlined NYC police officials charged in bribery corruption scandal.
The New York Daily News headline is more bombastic: NYPD officials busted in corruption investigation took ‘substantial bribes’ from de Blasio fund-raiser, including hookers: Criminal complaint.
For those readers wanting more specific details, here are links to the U.S. v. Grant Harrington Reichberg Complaint, the U.S. v. Villanueva and Lichtenstein Indictment, and the U.S. v. Ochetal Information.
The investigation and resulting criminal charges are relevant to those of us in northern Idaho.
The charges should remind us that law enforcement officers at all ranks are susceptible to bribes offered by people of wealth and influence. The honest ones resist; the corrupt ones don’t.
In a state such as New York where restrictive laws make it nearly impossible for an average citizen to get one of the three types of concealed weapons permit, those extra-special friends of the law enforcement brass will have no difficulty at all securing one. The Ochetal Information linked above describes how NYPD officials took bribes to make sure the “right” people got CWPs.
Finally, political party affiliation will not discourage an aggressive and honest US Attorney from pursuing some offenders. Competent US Attorneys who pursue politically sensitive prosecutions without regard to political party influences and potential career-affecting consequences effectively insulate themselves from punitive dismissal.
US Attorneys who refuse to look at public corruption in their district only encourage it.