NYPD Officers Face Stat-Fudging Charges

Four New York Police Department officers are facing internal charges based on the highly publicized accusations by a fellow officer that they manipulated crime statistics, an NYPD official said Friday.

The officers include the former commanding officer of the 81st Precinct in Brooklyn, Deputy Inspector Steven Mauriello.

Mauriello, a sergeant and two patrol officers were served with the charges this week. A second sergeant was expected to be served next week, said the official, who only named Mauriello.

The official wasn't authorized to speak publicly about an internal personnel matter and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Mauriello was charged with purposely tampering with grand larceny and car theft reports, and with misleading internal investigators. The sergeant was accused of failing to verify that two officers had filed a robbery complaint; the same two officers were charged with not following the order to file the complaint.

The officers were not removed from duty and were expected to keep their jobs, the official said. But they could face lesser penalties such as loss of pay or vacation days.

NYPD spokeswoman Kim Royster confirmed Friday that administrative charges had been drawn up and served but declined to comment further.

The head of the union representing Mauriello described him as a decorated, veteran commander who's never been in trouble before and predicted he would be exonerated at a departmental trial.

Mauriello "feels abandoned by the department he has faithfully served for over two decades," said Roy Richter, president of the Captains Endowment Association.

The department launched the probe after Officer Adrian Schoolcraft came forward with accusations that officers were under pressure to falsify records to improve the 81st Precinct's crime rates. Schoolcraft made secret tape recordings of officers talking about the alleged misconduct, then distributed the tapes to the media and filed a lawsuit after he claimed his superiors forcibly removed him from the force.

Schoolcraft was taken to a hospital psychiatric ward last Halloween by fellow officers and believes he was taken to the ward as punishment for spotlighting the misconduct. The episode was caught on tape and his superiors can be heard giving foul-mouthed orders to haul him off in handcuffs.

He spent six days there before he was released into the care of his father. He said he left his shift early that day but with permission. Precinct officers said he was AWOL and they were concerned for his well-being because he had been seeing a psychiatrist and appeared very anxious.

The 35-year-old made hundreds of hours of tapes while on duty — including roll calls, locker room chatter and his bosses yelling at him.

He claims he was bounced from unit to unit when he tried to blow the whistle, and stripped of his gun and badge by a police department doctor whom he spoke to about his job-related anxiety.

Police officials view his case as an isolated incident, not a department-wide corruption scandal.

Schoolcraft has filed a $50 million suit against the police department and several officers saying he was unlawfully imprisoned. He has not returned to work and is living in self-exile in Upstate New York as he pursues his case full-time.

Schoolcraft's attorney Jon Norinsberg called the charges a good first step.

"But this is only a very small part of the problem that's out there," he said. "As far as we're concerned, this is a citywide problem and until the larger problem is addressed, and there is an investigation into all the precincts in New York, this is a very small step."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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