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McCarthy’s New Jersey Alert

September 4, 2006

With Deputy Commissioner Garry McCarthy believed to be a candidate to head Newark, New Jersey’s police department, a flyer has been making the rounds in certain law enforcement circles.

Under the title “Officer Alert,” the flyer — part fact, part jest, part fiction — attacks Thomas Rossi, the Palisades Parkway police detective who arrested him a year and a half ago.

“To All Police Officers and their families,” it begins. “There is an EDP [Emotionally Disturbed Person] on the loose working for the New Jersey Palisades Interstate Parkway police. He has a serious temper problem and is known to use little discretion and no professional courtesy.”

Rossi arrested McCarthy in February, 2005, after he objected to a parking ticket Rossi had just issued their daughter.

This is what the Alert says of McCarthy’s arrest, without mentioning McCarthy’s name.

“In 2005, newly promoted detective Rossi got into an incident with an NYPD Deputy Commissioner. He [Rossi] arrested him for carrying a gun. To cover this up, once inside their Headquarters, the Commissioner was issued a ticket for blocking traffic. Rossi bragged that ‘He will get every single NYC cop that he can’ because ‘this was his highway and he is sick of them speeding.’”

Rossi’s version of events, of course, differs from the above paragraph. Here are excerpts from his police report.

“McCarthy identified himself as the deputy commissioner of the New York City Police Department but did not produce a badge/shield or identification. … As he was speaking a white female later identified as Regina McCarthy [his wife] was yelling obscenities at us from the passenger seat of the black Ford [which happened to be an NYPD department car.] …

“I explained that I was the officer who issued the summons and McCarthy said loudly ‘you know who the f… I was before you issued the summons and that is bull….’ McCarthy said numerous times very loudly … to go f… ourselves… I told McCarthy to get out of the area … before we charged him with weapons possession and McCarthy said … You can suck my ….”

After a scuffle between McCarthy and Rossi’s partner Roman Galloza, Rossi “grabbed the handgun out of his [McCarthy’s] waistband for officer safety and threw it in the front seat of [the patrol car]… McCarthy's wife …stated ‘That is my husband’s f… gun.’ She reached for the handgun and I had to jump on her back and take the gun out of her hand. I placed her into handcuffs…”

 

The McCarthys disputed the charges. In probably the longest and most costly traffic court case in New Jersey history, they were found guilty and fined $230. One can only imagine what they paid their lawyer, who spent five full days in court, to say nothing of preparation.The NYPD took no disciplinary actions against McCarthy. Spokesman Paul Browne said early on his actions did “not rise to the level of discipline.”

OK, so who put out the “Alert?”

Former NYPD lieutenant John Comparetto, the Passaic County Sheriff and friend of McCarthy who attended his trial, says he has seen the alert and says he can “guarantee it wasn’t put out by McCarthy. Neither Garry nor I operate that way. We put our names to things,” Comparetto said.

McCarthy and Rossi could not be reached for comment.

Rossi’s boss, Palisades Parkway Police Chief John Parr, declined comment.

One last thing. Last month, a New Jersey appeals court tossed out the arrest of a man Rossi had charged with lewd behavior, ruling that he and his partner Galloza had given “virtually identical” testimony in 26 cases.

At his trial, McCarthy’s lawyer, David Hoffman, had cited the 26 allegations but the traffic court judge rejected them as irrelevant to McCarthy’s case.

SEEN at last week’s Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association convention luncheon at the Holiday Inn in Albany:

State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Teresi, seated on the podium. Teresi was the judge who presided over the trial of the four police officers who fired 41 bullets, killing Amadou Diallo in 1999. They were acquitted. After the acquittals, Teresi was criticized by Diallo family attorneys for visiting the cops at a victory celebration.

Teresi also ordered two deputy sheriffs to hold the state’s Office of Court Administration Director of Communications David Bookstaver captive for 30 minutes after the verdict. Bookstaver maintained Teresi locked him up to prevent his alerting the media to the verdict. He added that Teresi impounded his cell phone when he tried to call for help.

Also seen: Cop buff Reggie Ward, the eminence grise of the Mount Vernon, N.Y. police department, whose recommendation was enough to hire former NYPD chief Gertrude LaForgia as that city’s police chief and whose subsequent disapproval was enough to get her fired.

With Ward was his pig-tailed little daughter, having the time of her life. Any parent with a kid that happy can’t be all bad.

Also, also seen: The honorary PBA delegate who moonlights for a New York City newspaper, asleep in the front seat of his car in the Holiday Inn parking lot as the luncheon began.

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Copyright © 2006 Leonard Levitt