One Police Plaza

Officer Gets Some Backup

December 5, 2003

The cop who ticketed police widow Lori Gunn for not wearing her seat belt last month did nothing wrong and should sue if departmental charges are brought against her, says Lt. Eric Adams, who heads a dissident group of black officers.

"She was in a summons unit. She has been moved out of that assignment. If they file charges, she should file a suit because she was just doing her job. She was issuing a legal summons," said Adams, whose 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care is not officially recognized by the NYPD and often opposes mainstream police thinking.

Adams - who said he had spoken with the officer, Havonia Holley - said he was making a distinction between her and her partner Officer Chae Martin.

Adams said, "Havonia is a totally different circumstance. She had every right to issue the summons and would have been totally wrong not to issue the summons."

On Nov. 21, Martin created controversy after she reportedly told Gunn - who had called Martin "a disgrace to the uniform" - "At least I am alive to be a disgrace to this uniform."

Gunn's late husband, William, was shot in the head in 1989 and lingered for nearly four years in a coma before he died. She could not be reached for comment, and friends say she wants to let the summons matter pass.

Holley told Adams she did not know who Gunn was when she ticketed her after Gunn had asked directions to the nearest precinct to park her car for the bomb squad's 100th anniversary dinner. Adams criticized department investigators who, he said, told Holley she should have confirmed who Gunn was.

The department has made no official comment about the incident and has not said which unit is investigating it. Neither Deputy Commissioner Michael O'Looney nor Insp. Michael Coan returned calls seeking comment.

"She [Holley] wrote 600 summonses last month," said Adams. " ... If she does not give someone a summons because they are associated with the department, it is an integrity issue." Adams added that he feels Holley acted professionally when she refused Gunn's request to have the officer talk to a supervisor on Gunn's cell phone.

"If she talks on the cell phone while engaging in a car stop she could be endangering the life of her partner," Adams said. Adams said Martin was on vacation until Monday.

Norris' tale. Former Deputy NYPD Commissioner Ed Norris, under investigation by federal prosecutors for alleged misuse of a secret slush fund while police commissioner of Baltimore, is reportedly under pressure from the governor of Maryland and doesn't seem to be doing so well with Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley.

Norris left the Baltimore department earlier this year to become superintendent of the Maryland State Police. The Baltimore Sun reported this week that Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is searching for a replacement, although his spokesman Henry Fawell told Newsday yesterday, "The governor is 100 percent behind the colonel and is entirely pleased with his performance."

This doesn't seem to be the case with O'Malley, who hired Norris on the recommendation of former NYPD deputy commissioners Jack Maple and John Miller. Asked about his relationship with O'Malley, mayoral spokeswoman Raquel Guillory said, "There is no relationship. When he left to go for the state police, there was no longer any necessity for contact."

"We" and "Us." Commissioner Ray Kelly's remark this week that, "We have thwarted at least one terrorist attack, a plan to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge," prompted this response by FBI spokesman Joe Valiquette: "Assuming he is referring to the plot to cut the bridge's cables, I assume he meant the Joint Terrorism [Task] Force when he used the word 'we.' "

With Kelly spokesman O'Looney not explaining what Kelly meant, Valiquette pointed out that there are about 80 joint groups of FBI agents and local police around the country. He pointed out that besides the Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York City, there is also one in Cincinnati where the plot to blow up the bridge originated.

©2003 Newsday, Inc.Reprinted with permission.