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Garry's Vindication?

July 30, 2018

So the New Jersey Palisades Interstate Parkway Police has been running rogue since 2014, says a Bergen County New Jersey prosecutor's report.

Click here to read what the police brass say about NYPD ConfidentialIssued earlier this month, the report accuses the Parkway Police - whose 28 officers control an 11-mile stretch of highway north and south along the Hudson River - of, among other things:

... engaging in improper high-speed car pursuits, resulting in the death of a fleeing motorcyclist.

... using the internet to lure drug dealers into its jurisdiction to arrest them, resulting in a death in custody when a suspect fled and fell off a cliff, an incident the agency failed to report to the county prosecutor.

... treating allegations of officer misconduct as "rule violations" rather potential criminal cases.

More important, as this column is concerned, it accuses its current police chief -- who was suspended for 90 days -- of awarding officers a $200 meal allowance for making the most monthly arrests and writing the most tickets.

And who is the world's happiest guy to hear all this? It's former NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Operations and more recently ex-Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy.

"I'm vindicated," McCarthy told NYPD Confidential.

McCarthy, as readers of this column may recall, stumbled into trouble with the Parkway Police in Feb., 2005. As a result, he turned a $100 parking ticket for his teenage daughter Kyla into an embarrassment for himself and his family - and probably into the most expensive parking ticket in the history of the automobile.

It all began at 11:20 p.m. on Feb. 18 when Parkway Police Detective Thomas Rossi ticketed Kyla for parking in a handicapped zone at a Parkway gas station north of the George Washington Bridge. Half an hour later, McCarthy and his wife Regina arrived as Rossi - who had two dozen civilian complaints against him, none of which were substantiated -- and his partner, Officer Roman Galloza, were still writing summonses.

According to Lt. Nelson Pagan of the Parkway police, McCarthy was given "a personal violation" for blocking the single exit lane of the gas station with his black Ford Explorer. Regina was given a summons for "unreasonable noise."

"He wanted to know who issued his daughter a summons ..." Pagan said at the time. "He was upset. That's for sure. She [Regina] was screaming and yelling when he was getting a summons."

Click here to read the New York Times profile of Leonard LevittThe verbal confrontation escalated into physicality, during which one of the two the Parkway officers disarmed McCarthy, taking his gun and placing it in his own patrol car. Then, if you can believe it, readers, Regina grabbed the gun.

The Fighting McCarthys were both handcuffed and taken into custody. Only the intervention of then Chief of Department Joe Esposito - whom McCarthy telephoned - prevented further escalation.

Take the ticket and get out of there as quickly as you can, wise old Joe told him.

Instead, McCarthy tried to tough it out. He fought the ticket, and lost.

Click here to read the Washington Post article on NYPD ConfidentialFinding him guilty of a minor traffic violation, Judge Stephen Zaben noted that McCarthy had been drinking before the incident and concluded that he, rather than Rossi or Galloza, had been the aggressor.

McCarthy appealed. New Jersey Appellate Judge, Patrick Roma affirmed Zaben's guilty verdict, adding that McCarthy had "thrown his weight around" and used "extraordinarily poor judgement."

In all, McCarthy said he ended up paying $22, 000 in lawyers' fees and court costs.

Now ensconced in the Windy City with a new wife, a new baby and in the midst of a mayoral race to unseat his former boss, incumbent Rahm Emanuel, is Garry vindicated?

Assistant Bergen County prosecutor and spokeswoman Liz Rebein said that the county's investigation was "limited to what they are doing right now. It's specific to this administration."

But had current practices seeped in from the past?

"I made those allegations to the Bergan County prosecutors' office and the FBI at the time," McCarthy said. "They said they couldn't do anything, that the Palisades Parkway Police were a cash cow for Bergen County."

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