Mayor Bloomberg may say it’s “almost impossible” for NYPD officers to fix tickets, but it seems that internal investigators and a Bronx grand jury would disagree: according to reports by confidential sources, up to 400 police officers may be faced with criminal or disciplinary charges for doing just that.
The story, though still burgeoning, reveals what could be the biggest scandal to rock the NYPD in over a decade. It’s also the latest in a series of headaches for Bloomberg, who has had a rather tumultuous third term thus far.
Separate investigations by the Bronx DA and Internal Affairs are in different stages, and just who broke the story first is similarly unclear. Here’s the essential coverage on the topic, and a little insight into exactly who was first on the scene.
Saturday, April 9
The New York Daily News reported over a week ago that as many as 40 police officers may be implicated in a grand jury probe of a Bronx ticket-fixing scheme, and that many of the cops under suspicion are union delegates. The Post also mentions that an Internal Affairs investigation was launched after hearing an officer suspected of involvement in the drug trade agreeing to fix a ticket over a wired phone.
Saturday, April 9
The same day, Gothamist reported the same basic information. The story mentions at least two dozen cops who are suspected of taking bribes, and at least ten others who are being investigated for lesser charges.
Monday, April 11
Murray Weiss wrote up the first sizable, detailed piece on the issue a week ago at DNAinfo. Weiss reported that internal investigators have been eavesdropping on police officers’ calls for a year, and fleshed out the story behind the Internal Affairs investigation. The article notes that over a hundred officers may be implicated, and that the scandal is so big that prosecutors will have to set a cutoff to determine who will face criminal charges and who will merely face disciplinary action within the department.
Tuesday, April 12
DNAinfo, still all over this story, reported that Police Commissioner Ray Kelly acknowledged the scandal in a press conference the day before.
Sunday, April 17
The story picked up steam after the DNAinfo piece, and nearly a week later the Post published an exclusive on the ticket-fixing scandal. This piece was the first to clearly differentiate between the two investigations, and also explained details about the process of fixing tickets. It noted that as many as 400 cops may be implicated- though the NYPD denied the number was that high- revealing just how big the corruption scandal may be.
Sunday, April 17
The same day, the Times published a piece on the story that provided further clarification about the status of the investigations. The piece said that dozens of officers, including one “high-ranking official,” have received immunity to testify in front of the grand jury. The Times also said that it isn’t yet clear when either investigation will wrap up, and helpfully pointed out that the scandal is likely to make New Yorkers really mad.
Monday, April 18
Which brings us to….today! No major details have emerged, but CBS reported that Bloomberg is pointing to an electric ticketing system used by police as evidence that ticket-fixing is “almost impossible.”
The mayor did admit, however, “there’s always the possibility of somebody scamming any system.”