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Larry Byrne's No No's

July 23, 2018

Remember the federal corruption investigation of the NYPD's top brass that rocked the department a couple of years ago but so far has resulted in the guilty plea of only one top cop for the most minor of offenses?

Click here to read what the police brass say about NYPD ConfidentialThe investigation involved allegations of "cops on call" to Brooklyn's Hasidic community that included bribes to officers in the Pistol Licensing Division and gifts and favors [including sex on a plane] from two Orthodox Jewish hustlers, one of whom was a major contributor the Mayor de Blasio's 2013 election campaign. Nearly a dozen chiefs and inspectors were either arrested, transferred, placed on modified assignment and/or retired.

Well, now an arbitrator has ruled that the NYPD improperly forced an inspector and five chiefs to retire in the wake of the scandal -- not because of wrongdoing but because their names had appeared in the media and because of apparent concerns by then-Commissioner Bill Bratton about his "legacy."

"The record shows that not one of the [officers] was informed he was a target or subject of an investigation and none was charged with a crime," wrote arbitrator David N. Stein last week, referring to Inspector Peter DeBlasio and Deputy Chiefs Andrew Capul, David Colon, Eric Rodriguez and John Sprague, who have sued the NYPD for tens of thousands of dollars in accrued leave and compensatory time. "Moreover," Stein wrote, "the department had never charged any one of them with misconduct or incompetence."

Stein was scathing in his criticism of the well-respected Deputy Commissioner of Legal Affairs Larry Byrne, who apparently served as the department's point man in disciplining the officers. Byrne, the architect of the department's position that releasing the disciplinary records of cops violates state law 50A, is set to retire this week and is so highly regarded at Police Plaza that the department is giving him a celebratory "walkout," an honor reserved for long-serving top brass.

Specifically, Stein accused Byrne of reneging on a financial agreement with the five officers by threatening them with demotions and departmental charges if they did not agree to retire immediately. All of them did, around July, 2016.

Click here to read the New York Times profile of Leonard LevittAlthough Deputy Commissioner of Labor Relations John Beirne had told Byrne the department could not legally force the five to retire, Stein wrote, "Byrne engaged in a course of action designed to force them out by threatening to have a hearing, which would culminate in their certain termination." These threats, Stein wrote, violated the officers due process rights to a hearing "based on the evidence which Byrne steadfastly and consistently refused to outline ... "By stressing that the commissioner wanted their resignations without sharing any facts," Stein wrote, "Byrne was able to emphasize the commissioner's power rather than the justification for the imposition of discipline. ..."

The result, Stein wrote, was that the department "abused the discretion and trust delegated to police departments in NYS to internally administer employee discipline."

Click here to read the Washington Post article on NYPD ConfidentialStein added: "When a high-ranking officer such as Deputy Commissioner Byrne departs from the rule of law to engage in bullying members of the department to obtain a desired result, it creates the danger that subordinates will be influenced to disregard what is right and proper in situations where they too might conclude they have discretion to exercises power without legitimate authority."

Stein gave the department and the officers 60 days to work out a compensation package.

Byrne declined comment, saying he hadn't read the decision.

Choking on the Times. You don't have to love upstate Republican Congressman John Faso to choke on the self-righteousness of the NY Times editorial board. "John Faso Is Race-baiting His Opponent," headlined an editorial, criticizing Faso for charging that Democrat Antonio Delgado, "is unfit for office because he had a career as a rapper a decade ago." In a letter to the Times the following day, Faso denied saying that. Instead, he wrote, "I did say that he [Delgado] is obligated to explain what he meant by the songs he wrote, which denigrated our nation and the free enterprise system, and often glorified pornography and drug use." The Times saw it differently. It wrote that Delgado's songs "tackled issues from poverty to and inequality to racism and the war in Iraq. It also includes a not infrequent use of the N-word, something Mr. Delgado, who is black, has a right to use." Has a right to use? What does that mean? In his letter, Faso wrote: "Mr. Delgado also uses many phrases derogatory to women and law enforcement. One can only imagine what your editorial board would say about me had I uttered the same words as my opponent has."

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