Anatomy of a Ticket Fixing Scandal: 17 NYPD Officers Indicted

| July 22, 2011 1:00 AM | Updated: September 23, 2011 5:26 PM

17 NYPD officials are reportedly facing charges for ticket fixing. The complex ticket fixing scandal has rocked the department since it broke in April, 2010. Flickr/ Bob Boudon.

For over a week, multiple sources have reported that a Bronx grand jury was deliberating whether to indict 17 NYPD officers on ticket fixing charges. The day has come, and all 17 officers have been indicted, reported DNAinfo on Sept. 23.
However, after a tense three year investigation, the metaphorical pendulum will swing for a few more days before the officers learn their sentences.
This news is the latest in an internal investigation dating back to 2008, which has reportedly involved up to 400 NYPD officers from every borough, making it the largest NYPD scandal since the “Dirty 30″ case in 1993.

Since the sweeping investigation has taken place behind closed doors, the media has only been able to reveal the details of the scandal in bits and pieces.

Following is a timeline of how the scandal has unfolded in the media to date:

Sept. 22: The New York Times reports that there have been multiple internal leaks within the NYPD throughout the investigation. The most serious occurred in Sept. 2010, when a member of NYPD Internal Affairs tampered with a raid on 12 precincts in order to collect their summonses as evidence.

Sept. 19: Bronx Grand Jury begins deliberations on whether to indict 17 NYPD officers on corruption charges related to ticket fixing, DNAinfo reported.

Sept. 14: 62-year old NYPD officer Robert McGee, who had recently testified to the Bronx Grand Jury about ticket fixing offenses, attempts suicide by touching the third rail of an elevated train track. It’s not clear what other factors played into McGee’s suicide attempt, but many officers familiar with McGee believe it evidences the ongoing investigation’s psychological impact on police officers, reported the New York Times.

Sept. 1: The Daily News reports that the Bronx grand jury investigation into the ticket-fixing scandal is nearing its conclusion. The grand jury is expected to vote next month whether to indict about two-dozen officers for bribery and misconduct, but many of the cases against individual officers have already been closed through plea deals, according to DNAinfo. Several officers have taken early retirement to preserve their valuable pensions.

August 8: The Village Voice reports that NYPD officers have written 7,000 fewer tickets this year than in 2010, largely as a result of the scandal.

July 21: Veteran NYPD union official Gregory Manning pleads guilty to four charges related to ticket fixing, reports the New York Times. Manning faces a $500 dollar fine and the loss of 40 vacation days, but plans to retire immediately as part of a plea deal to avoid criminal charges. Approximately 40 other police officials are expected to plead guilty to ticket fixing charges, and many of them will likely retire from the force.

June 15: The New York Times reports that younger officers are becoming extremely disillusioned with the NYPD as a result of the scandal.

June 7: DNAinfo reports on the details of the scandal’s origins. In late 2008, the Internal Affairs Bureau received a tip that Jose Ramos — a 40th Precinct union delegate — was involved with an ex-convict drug dealer based in Soundview, Bronx, where Ramos owns a barbershop. IAB officials began a sting operation, which included bugging the barbershop phone, through which they first overheard Ramos agreeing to fix a ticket. The IAB investigators began to seriously explore ticket fixing after hearing a precinct delegate and several officers agree to help Ramos bury a summons. The IAB began secretly recording the phone conversations of police officers from all 12 Bronx precincts.

May 25: Police officers are questioned about ticket-fixing in court cases unrelated to the investigation. A police officer who had previously confessed to ticket fixing before the Bronx grand jury was testifying on an unrelated drunk driving case when the defense lawyer suddenly asked the officer if he have ever fixed a ticket, thus discrediting the officer’s testimony. Reported by the New York Times.

May 18: NYPD commissioner Raymond Kelly announces the creation of the Case Monitoring Unit to track ticket fixing. Reported by the Daily News.

May 12 – 16: A secretly recorded phone call, in which a Westchester officer asks an NYPD acquaintance to help cover up a fellow upstate officer’s DWI, is released. Additional conversations expose ticket-fixing kickbacks between officers and high-ranking Yankees officials. One clip features a cop requesting free access to exclusive Delta Club seats at Yankees Stadium from Sonny Hight — the Yankees vice president — since police had previously fixed a ticket for Doug Behar, head of stadiums operations. Reported by DNAinfo.

April 26: The following evidence of more serious allegations against NYPD officers — which was overheard during the Internal Affairs Bureau phone taps — is reported by DNAinfo:

• A group of cops attempted to dispose of 6 domestic violence cases involving off-duty officers.

• Several cops tried to bury DWI incidents involving fellow officers.

• Cops were overheard both arranging for and paying prostitutes.

April 22: On his weekly radio show, Mayor Michael Bloomberg acknowledges the ticket fixing scandal, but notes that an electronic ticket monitoring system instituted the previous June made the crooked practice much tougher. Reported by the New York Post.

April 20: The head of the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association, Edward Mullins, says ticket fixing has always been a common practice. Reported by the New York Post.

April 17: The vast scope of the scandal comes to light, with up to 400 officers reportedly facing disciplinary charges. Precincts in every borough are being investigated. The story clarifies the distinction between the two separate investigations — the original Internal Affairs Bureau investigation that used extensive phone taps to collect evidence of ticket fixing, and the Bronx grand jury’s ongoing investigation that continues to interrogate officers behind closed doors. Reported by New York  Post.

April 11: DNAinfo reports that NYPD internal investigators have been secretly eavesdropping on the conversations of NYPD officers and union delegates for some time. Up to 50 police officers are being eyed by internal investigators in a scandal about to blow wide open. The investigation began when a Bronx barber shop phone was tapped as part of a drug dealing investigation and a police officer was overheard agreeing to fix a ticket for his father.

April 9: The Daily News reports that a Bronx grand jury probe is investigating up to 40 cops for having accepted bribes in exchange for ticket-fixing favors.

October 19, 2010: The Daily News reports that a 52nd precinct commander is under investigation by the Internal Affairs Bureau after complaints that he regularly fixed parking tickets.

June, 2010: NYPD begins using a computer system that tracks tickets from the day they’re issued, making it very difficult to fix future tickets. Reported by the New York Post.

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