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Bratton, Green differ on Diallo

July 2, 2001

Better not bet the farm on Bill Bratton's return as police commissioner if Public Advocate Mark Green is elected mayor.

Bratton has been Green's most visible supporter connected to the NYPD.

But he vanished two weeks ago as Green released his report on the Amadou Diallo shooting. The report contended Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's public support of the police officers in the case "short-circuited" the department's internal investigation, allowing the four cops who fatally shot the unarmed African emigrant to escape internal charges.

Your Humble Servant's S.O.S. finally reached Bratton in Los Angeles last week.

Bratton maintained he had nothing to do with, nor was he consulted about, the report's conclusions. "I didn't read it in great detail," Bratton said. "I had no conversations with him [Green] at all about it. I spoke with Richard Aborn [the Green aide who prepared the report] only on procedural issues."

The report, Bratton explained, "made certain presumptions based on circumstantial information. I am not sure how much cooperation they got from the department. They had no access on conversations with [Police Commissioner Bernard] Kerik and the mayor. Some inferences in the report were incorrect. There was subsequent information by the mayor and the commissioner to refute them, so you could make other conclusions.

"My own experience is that he [the mayor] never got involved in discipline. He never injected himself into cases. He was always smart enough not to influence my decisions. As to what went on with Safir and Kerik, who knows?"

Bratton then offered his own view on the four Diallo cops, which echoes that of Giuliani and many in the police department. The four cops, said Bratton, "did not commit a crime. It was a tragic mistake. Based on what I am aware of without access to reports provided Kerik, I see nothing there that would warrant disciplining them."

In his report, Green said the disciplinary process had been incomplete, but he stopped short of saying that the four cops should be disciplined or had committed a crime.

Bratton added that he had "no quarrel" with Kerik's keeping the four cops' guns. "It's doing the officers a good turn. It is too soon for them to return. As to whether they can ever return to full duty that remains to be seen. It is not my decision to make."

Bernie and His Friends. Now that Commissioner Kerik is an author, he has some new friends. One is Judith Regan, president and publisher of ReganBooks, whose press release about his autobiography "The Lost Son," says that when "Kerik walked into my office and told his story, my life was transformed."

That same Judith Regan was recently the subject of a criminal complaint by her divorce attorney, William Beslow, who alleged Regan stole her divorce file from his office.

According to Regan, the "theft" occurred after she fired Beslow for what she called "extreme cause." Regan said she then went to his office with "a witness" - an ex-cop turned celebrity private eye, Bill Stanton, who's another Kerik friend.

Beslow's secretary gave Regan and Stanton three boxes of Regan's divorce papers, which Regan added, "did not constitute my [entire] file since I have been in litigation since 1992. I then went back to my office, where the files were later stolen by a temp. He [Beslow] then filed his false complaint, saying I had stolen his files. "

Regan said Beslow - who filed his complaint March 16 - "is retaliating because I am about to embark on a major lawsuit against him. I intend to pursue every avenue to get him disbarred. One of the more horrendous things he has done is to file this false criminal complaint."

Beslow acknowledged filing the complaint but declined to elaborate.

The police department closed the case April 23 without filing charges after Regan's criminal attorney Joseph Tacopina suggested that the case belonged in civil court. Beslow said he had no quarrel with how his complaint was handled.

As for Kerik, Regan said, "I didn't even tell him about it."

Redemption. Mike Collins was promoted to deputy chief on Friday.

Readers of this column may remember that Collins, then commanding officer of the Public Information Office, took the fall for his hapless boss, former Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Marilyn Mode, who was unable to provide Safir with the favorable publicity he felt he deserved. Result: Collins was transferred.

Collins now heads to Brooklyn South as executive officer, replacing Danny Oates, who will go to Ann Arbor, Mich., as its police chief.

Oates, who formerly headed the Intelligence Division, is following in the tradition of NYPD top commanders who leave New York to head other city departments. John Timoney, former first deputy commissioner under Bratton, is currently the police commissioner of Philadelphia. Ed Norris, former deputy commissioner under Safir, is now police commissioner of Baltimore.

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© 2001 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.