In previous posts, we've discussed how a routine internal investigation of a New York Police Department (NYPD) officer turned into a large-scale probe of hundreds of police officers accused of "fixing" traffic violations for friends or family.
In recent developments, it appears that the grand jury investigation into the matter - which originally commenced back in April - will soon be drawing to a close with criminal charges expected to be handed down against at least a dozen police officers.
According to evidence presented by prosecutors from the Bronx district attorney's office, there was purportedly a persistent culture of ticket fixing within the department and that this fixing allegedly occurred in multiple ways, including:
- Traffic violations disappearing from station houses
- Officers being persuaded by fellow officers not to appear in traffic court
- Officers being persuaded by fellow officers to not provide the level of detail necessary to support a traffic ticket
Sources indicate that of the dozen or more officers likely to face charges, the majority will likely face ticket-fixing charges. However, a few may be facing corruption charges, a far more serious matter.
In addition to these criminal charges, these officers - and many others not named in the grand jury investigation - will likely be subject to rather stern internal disciplinary measures.
Interestingly, the Internal Affairs (IA) Bureau has also been working overtime for several months to uncover any potential improprieties in issuing traffic violations.
Specifically, these IA investigators have been showing up in traffic court to verify that officers actually show up for the hearings and to examine whether the officers are being truthful when they profess not to remember a particular traffic stop.
However, critics argue that this approach is actually having an altogether negative impact, as officers are now fearful that even smallest memory lapse or clerical error can result in an IA investigation, causing them to write altogether fewer traffic tickets.
Stay tuned for developments on this continuing story from our New York traffic law blog ...
If you have been issued a traffic violation, fight to keep your driving privileges and your insurance premiums as low as possible. Consider contacting an attorney who understands New York's confusing legal system, and who can help you evaluate your options and make the right decisions.
This post was provided for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
The New York Times, "Charges likely within weeks for officers on tickets case" Sept. 14, 2011