Two high-ranking NYPD officers were placed on modified duty and two others were transferred amid a federal investigation into potential violations of conflict of interest rules and federal criminal laws, Commissioner Bill Bratton announced Thursday.
Deputy Inspector James Grant, head the Upper East Side's 19th Precinct, was stripped of his badge and gun Thursday, according to the NYPD. The decision came after the New York Post reported that the FBI was investigating claims that Grant had accepted diamonds and cash from a Brooklyn businessman.
Deputy Chief Michael Harrington was also placed on modified duty, while Deputy Chief David Colon and Deputy Chief Eric Rodriguez were transferred because of the investigation, Bratton said.
'“This is not a particularly good day for the department,” Bratton said.
NYPD Captain's Endowment Association President Roy Richter defended the officers Thursday in a statement to the Daily News.
"The personnel moves today are traumatic for any member of the NYPD and especially for those who hold senior leadership roles. The allegations contained in media reports tarnish the unblemished career records of those named,” Richter said.
The investigation was launched by the NYPD at the end of 2013. The FBI and Justice Department joined the ongoing inquiry in early 2014, Bratton said.
The Post, citing sources, reported that Grant allegedly accepted cash and diamonds from Brooklyn businessman Jeremy Reichberg in exchange for security. Grant allegedly accompanied Reichberg from local airports after overseas trips to collect diamonds, according to the Post's sources.
Grant's lawyer, John Meringolo, told NBC 4 New York that he denies the allegations.
The Post further reported that Reichberg, along with Manhattan real estate investor Jona Rechnitz, offered overseas trips and other gifts to law enforcement officials.
The FBI probe allegedly extends to 20 members of the NYPD, Corrections Officers' Benevolent Association leader Norman Seabrook and former NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks, the Post reported.
Banks maintains he did not knowingly break the law while employed by the NYPD.
“It does not appear that Mr. Banks, either while employed by the New York City Police Department or after he retired, was involved in any intentional criminal conduct," Banks' lawyer, Ben Brafman, told the Post.
Seabrook, who reportedly traveled with Rechnitz and Reichberg to Israel also maintains his relationship with the businessmen was not illegal.
“There is no quid pro quo. There’s nothing [the FBI] could say Norman did wrong,’’ he told the Post, referring to himself.
On Thursday, an representative for Seabrook declined to comment on the allegations to NBC 4 New York.