U.S. Attorney's Office is mum about NYPD whistleblower's claims about police stat-fixing

By LOUIS FLORES

When then New York Police Department Sgt. Robert Borrelli reported to the U.S. Attorney's Office for New York's southern district allegations that commanders in the 100th Precinct station house in Far Rockaway, Queens, were downgrading reports of crimes in order to artificially lower the reporting of major crimes, officials in Manhattan's federal prosecutors' office gave him the brush off.

So reported the journalist John Marzulli in an article published by The New York Daily News.

Other oversight departments or agencies, which also ignored former Sgt. Borrelli's complaints included the NYPD's scandal-ridden Internal Affairs Bureau and the District Attorney's Office of Queens County.  When nobody wanted to probe former Sgt. Borrelli's claims, he reportedly went to the media, and in 2013 he filed a lawsuit in Brooklyn federal court, alleging that his superiors were deliberately manipulating crime statistics.  To settle former Sgt. Borrelli's lawsuit, the City of New York has agreed to pay the former NYPD commander $150,000, making former Sgt. Borrelli the second high-profile former NYPD officer to settle a whistleblower complaint filed against the City.  A few weeks ago, the City reportedly agreed to pay in excess of $1 million to settle the whistleblower, benefits, and backpay claims of former NYPD officer Adrian Schoolcraft.

The Manhattan federal prosecutors' office is headed by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who has cloaked himself as a champion against public corruption.  At a public speech made last January at New York Law School, U.S. Attorney Bharara said he would not "hesitate" to look into allegations of corruption or misconduct at the NYPD, if needed.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment in response to allegations made by former Sgt. Borrelli that the Manhattan federal prosecutors' office ignored his allegations of police corruption and misconduct.

The political blogger and artist Suzannah B. Troy, a critic of the NYPD, told Progress Queens that she is skeptical about U.S. Attorney Bharara's rhetoric about being a champion against public corruption.

"I've been so disappointed with Preet Bharara," Ms. Troy said, adding that, "Most recently, when Sheldon Silver was arrested, he looked down his nose at us and told us that we should hold city officials accountable.  Yet, he did not arrest one city government official in connection with the CityTime scandal, not even Joel Bondy."

Ms. Troy, who has sued the NYPD, alleging possible corruption and misconduct related to the downgrading and non-investigation of crimes she had reported, also said that, "I know for a fact that Preet Bharara has been challenged in an open forum by an activist, asking him what was he going to do about complaints about the NYPD."  Of the silence and inaction by federal prosecutors to growing complaints about corruption and misconduct at the NYPD, Ms. Troy said she was not very optimistic that U.S. Attorney Bharara would live up to his self-created image as the public's champion.

For instance, Ms. Troy, described her own efforts to bring her complaints about the NYPD to federal law enforcement officials.  Of her efforts, she said, "When I had a problem, I contacted the DOJ," she said, referring to the U.S. Department of Justice, adding that, "You get the same voice mail message now from Loretta Lynch that you used to get from Eric Holder," Ms. Troy said, referring to the current and the former U.S. Attorneys General, respectively.

Ms. Troy said that the voice mail message recording she has repeatedly received from a U.S. Department of Justice hotline is to "contact your local FBI branch," she said, referring to the New York field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Ms. Troy described this process of a hot potato as a "pass the corruption buck from one agency to another."

Ultimately, Ms. Troy predicted, that there would be continued discord with police-community relations, particularly since the public is depending on another U.S. Attorney's Office, this one in New York's eastern district, to investigate the federal civil rights violations claims in the NYPD homicide of Eric Garner.

"I fear that there's going to be more problems," Ms. Troy said.

As reported by Progress Queens, the Brooklyn federal prosecutors' office has been beset by a series of leadership changes.  Since the start of the year, there have been three prosecutors, who have led that U.S. Attorney's Office.  New York City's vocal LGBT community have also accused the Brooklyn federal prosecutors' office of engaging in selective prosecution of officials formerly employed by Rentboy.com, indication, LGBT activists say, that law enforcement are still targeting sexual minorities in a wayward "war on sex."