A three year investigation has resulted in the indictment of 16 NYPD officers accused of resolving traffic tickets for friends, relatives and fellow cops. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson discussed the case in a press conference with reporters Friday afternoon.
The ticket fixing probe began with a tip about an officer, Jose Ramos, who was involved in a barbershop allegedly connected to counterfeit DVD and marijuana sales. After tapping over 10,000 calls and conducting sting operations that included “an undercover cop who knew how to cut hair,” investigators found widespread instances of ticket fixing in the Bronx that D.A. Johnson said cost the city between $1 million to $2 million. In addition to the 16 indictments, over 300 officers face disciplinary action as a result of the investigation.
“This is not a pleasant task, but it is a necessary task. People of this city look to the men and women of the New York City Police Department to enforce the laws and to enforce the laws equally and fairly,” D.A. Johnson said before thanking Commissioner Kelly and the NYPD Internal Affairs department for assisting with the investigation.
Commissioner Kelly said the ticket fixing probe resulted in several reforms within the NYPD including court appearance monitoring and electronic summons tracking initiatives that began this summer. He also stressed that the “vast majority” of city cops are not involved in wrongdoing.
“Exposing police misconduct is a painful process but a necessary one. … It’s necessary for the continued health and reputation of the police department,” Commissioner Kelly said.
Earlier in the day, when the officers showed up in court large numbers of fellow cops showed up at the Bronx courthouse to protest the indictments carrying signs that described ticket fixing as a “courtesy not a crime.” Commissioner Kelly said he hadn’t seen the protest.
“I’m sorry, I heard about it, but I didn’t see it,” Commissioner Kelly said.
The Commissioner also noted that there were “many instances on the wiretap” where officers refused to fix tickets. One reporter asked Commissioner Kelly if he was ever asked to fix a ticket during his 43 year career with the NYPD.
“No, and if I was approached, I’d say no,” Commissioner Kelly said.