NYPD Confidential - An Inside Look at the New York Police Department
Home Page
All Columns
Contact Leonard Levitt
Search this site
Printable versionSend to a friendEmail Leonard Levitt

Cop Election Fight: Ugly, Ugly

March 30, 2015

When cops fight with each other, it ain’t beanbag.

Take the PBA election, scheduled for June, where cops supporting incumbent President Patrick Lynch or Strengthen the Shield insurgent Brian Fusco are throwing the kitchen sink at each other.

Then, they vanish like apparitions, leaving their PR guys to handle the fallout.

Let’s start with the recently posted charge on the Facebook page of PBA Treasurer Joe Alejandro, linking Fusco’s public relations guy, George Shea, to Mayor Bill de Blasio, the cops’ perceived archenemy.

Alejandro posted that Shea “is also the shill for Mayor de Blasio’s real estate friends. … So the mayor, who was embarrassed by the PBA, has asked his real estate buddies to attack the PBA. … [T]hese guys will never give you direct proof but all you need to see is some of the web to know that the spider is around.”

Alejandro couldn’t be found when NYPD Confidential asked about his spider web facts. Instead, PBA spokesman Al O’Leary offered this explanation:

“We know of an individual who heard de Blasio’s right-hand man, Peter Ragone — who has since left the administration — brag in a social setting that he was given the task by the mayor to ‘dump Lynch,’” O’Leary said. “The person who heard it refuses to speak to anyone on the record.”

Said Shea: “They’re saying some crazy stuff,” adding he had “no connection to de Blasio unequivocally. Pulling a PR man into an election campaign shows you don’t want to talk the real issues.”

One of those issues, Shea said, was Lynch’s $5,000 endorsement of Ken Thompson, who in his 15 months as Brooklyn district attorney has indicted four police officers. Fusco has charged that Lynch’s endorsement was a stab in the back of cops.

Both Fusco and Lynch were in the wind when NYPD Confidential sought further details.

O’Leary pointed out that Fusco was present when the PBA made its endorsement. Shea pointed out that Fusco had “objected.”

Meanwhile in the Bronx, all eyes are on Monday’s hearing before Acting State Supreme Court Justice Steven Barrett in the continuing ticket-fixing case. The scandal has led to the indictments of 13 cops, including three of the insurgents.

One of the three, Brian McGuckin, is charged with the misdemeanor count of criminal possession of a forged instrument. He will have to decide by Monday whether he remains on the insurgent slate and goes to trial, or retires and hopes he gets his pension.

Two other insurgents, Michael Hernandez and Joe Anthony, are charged with tampering with public records, official misconduct, grand larceny and conspiracy. They face the same Hobson’s choice.

Hernandez also couldn’t be reached. But the voluble Anthony blamed Lynch for not defending him and the 12 others.

“Our campaign will go on to the end,” he said.

McKELVEY. Few people at Police Plaza know the name James Campbell McKelvey. Yet the former New York Newsday police and court reporter has a place in NYPD history.

McKelvey single-handedly enabled Mayor Edward I. Koch to appoint Benjamin Ward the city’s first black police commissioner.

For 11 years, Ward had been blamed for releasing suspects in the fatal shooting of police officer Philip Cardillo inside a Harlem mosque in 1972. In 1983, as Koch announced Ward’s impending appointment, McKelvey discovered a secret police document known as the Blue Book, which exonerated Ward and blamed Chief of Detectives Al Seedman for releasing the suspects.

In Seedman’s defense, a riot was raging outside the mosque and when Seedman attempted to reach then-Commissioner Patrick V. Murphy, the commissioner didn’t take his call — no doubt on instructions from then-Mayor John Lindsay, whose relations with the police department in 1972 were about as troubled as those of Mayor de Blasio in 2014.

McKelvey’s discovery — and Newsday’s subsequent front-page story — resulted in Koch’s holding up the paper on the steps of city Hall and crowing, “Thank God for Newsday.”

Ward placed a copy of the story on his office door.

In response to this column’s reporting that community policing began under Lee Brown in the 1990s, Jimmy Hargrove, a former president of the Guardians Association of black police officers, says community policing began in 1973 in the 32nd and 77th precincts under Commissioner Murphy and then-Deputy Commissioner of Community Affairs Ward.

“I was one of six sergeants in the 77,” Hargrove said.

« Back to top
Copyright © 2015 Leonard Levitt