NYPD Confidential - An Inside Look at the New York Police Department
Home Page
All Columns
Books
Biography
Contact Leonard Levitt
Search this site
 
Printable version   Send to a friend   Email Leonard Levitt

Can’t Keep Frank Livoti Down

April 24, 2006

"Self-Defense Training: Don’t have time for formalized Martial Arts Training? We have the solution. We will teach you quick, clean, easy to learn and retain combat moves that will give you an edge when your safety is at risk.

"Lectures/Speaking engagements: Looking for someone to speak at your Corporate Law Enforcement, Community or Social function? Our CEO speaks and lectures on a wide variety of Topics and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs.”

The above comes from the website Genesis Diversified Services. The CEO is none other than the notorious Francis X. Livoti.

Livoti, says the website, “is a former NYC Police Officer and union official with the NYC Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association. During the course of his 15-year career [the last nine as a union official], our CEO responded to over 125 officer-involved shootings and represented, in all department investigations and proceedings, not only the officers who discharged their firearms but all non-shooting officer witnesses as well. Indeed, his work in the hours immediately following these events were often of critical importance to the ultimately favorable resolution of the vast majority of these cases.”

But Livoti is far too modest. He has omitted his signature crime.

In one of the last decade’s most publicized cases of police brutality, Livoti spent seven years in federal prison for the death of Anthony Baez, a 28-year-old asthmatic. Baez died during a dispute arising over a touch football game after Livoti used a department-banned choke-hold to subdue him.

The city compensated the Baez family by paying them $3 million.

“How did you find me? How did you find the website?” Livoti asked when Your Humble Servant telephoned. “You know, “ he added, “I’ve been out [of prison] for a year.”

“So how was prison?” we asked.

“I did time for other people in this case,” he said, sounding neither bloodied nor unbowed, and naming another cop, Robert Ball, who Livoti claimed had lied under oath by testifying that Baez never stood up again after Livoti choked him.

Indeed, perjury was a key part of Livoti’s first trial in the Bronx. State Supreme Court Judge Gerald [the husband of Judge Judy] Sheindlin acquitted Livoti in lieu of a jury and cited “a nest of perjury.”

He later amended that, saying he was referring to only one officer, Daisy Boria. Two others, Boria’s partner Mario Erotokritou and Anthony Farnum, were subsequently dismissed from the department for giving false testimony in the case.

Another key part was Livoti’s favored treatment in the department, both as a PBA delegate and as a friend of the former Chief of Department Louis Anemone, who praised Livoti at a public hearing in the Bronx shortly after Baez’s death.

Livoti was subsequently convicted in federal court and sentenced to seven years for violating Baez civil rights. He says he was transferred to seven prisons because of threats on his life and spent a year in solitary confinement.

Asked what he learned in those seven years, he said, “The most organized criminals in the world are the federal government.

 

“And due to the unique circumstances of my case, no one was in a better position to understand it than me. I learned I must continue to be a leader, not a follower.”

The Wild Blue Yonder [Cont.] Not only were all four of the NYPD’s Agusta helicopters down last week for maintenance. Two of the unit’s air-sea rescue helicopters were down as well.

That left only one working helicopter for all patrol and rescue-related responses – the unmarked Bell 412, whose existence is supposedly a terrorism-related secret.

Meanwhile, here’s a question for the aviation unit’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Joseph Gallucci whom the Secret Service grounded for a few hours last November after the helicopter in which he was receiving instrument flight training from instructor Mario Bernardini came too close to the airspace of President Bush.

The question is this: why did Gallucci forego taking the same flight training in a department helicopter on department time at Floyd Bennett field free of charge with the unit’s own flight instructors as virtually all of the unit’s three dozen pilots do?

Instead, Gallucci chose to take the training on his own time with Bernardini, paying for the instruction and the use of Bernardini’s helicopter.

Gallucci didn’t respond to this reporter’s attempt to get an answer.

Come In, Tom. When former NYPD commissioner Bernie Kerik’s former chief of staff John Picciano ran off to Brazil, supposedly with his girlfriend, Your Humble Servant called out to him: “Come in, Pitch.”

Now this column is calling out to another Kerik friend, this one caught up in Kerik’s impending indictment in the Bronx: “Come in, Tom.”

Tom is, of course, Tom Antenen, the Corrections Department’s longtime spokesman as well as Kerik’s spokesman in his short tenure at the NYPD. Antenen — a modest man and a friend to many reporters, including this one — was reportedly booted from his $131,000 job at Corrections two weeks ago after he was overheard on a court-ordered wiretap speaking to Kerik about Jeanette Pinero, a former corrections officer and Kerik girlfriend, whom Bernie brought to his Ground Zero love nest in the weeks after 9/11.

According to a city official who asked for anonymity, Antenen, whose salary was reduced to $55, 000, is still showing up for work, though not in the Corrections department. The official declined to say where Antenen is currently employed.

Calls to Antenen’s home were not returned last week so we’ll call out again, “Come in, Tom.”

Can't We All Just Get Along? Despite how well Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that rival city agencies get along under the hegemony of the police department and its commander-in-chief Ray Kelly, there was Paul Browne screaming at Jared Bernstein, the spokesman for the Office of Emergency Management, during the Roosevelt Island tram rescue last week.

Bernstein’s crime: he tried to give his agency some publicity before the television cameras.

“How dare you? What the f... do you think you’re doing?” the police department’s Deputy Commissioner for Public Information was overheard shouting at Bernstein.

Browne didn’t respond to an inquiry from this column.

Said Bernstein: “Paul and I have a great working relationship. It was a long night.”

« Back to top

Copyright © 2006 Leonard Levitt