The investigation into a ticket fixing scandal among the NYPD is drawing to a close and criminal charges are expected in more than 12 cases. This is fewer than previously expected but the investigation has had far reaching effects, both in the department and across the city.
When the investigation was first revealed, earlier this week, reports estimated that there would be at least two dozen criminal cases arising from the probe. Some even suggested as many as 40 officers would be charged. And while many will face internal discipline, just a few over twelve are expected to face formal charges.
Prosecutors have been presenting evidence to a grand jury since April and the criminal charges should be formally levied within the next few weeks, according to the New York Times.
The investigation has had far reaching impact, as many officers under investigation have sought retirement and one has reportedly attempted suicide.
Just this past week, Officer Robert McGee touched the third rail of an elevated train track, something that people who know him say was an attempt to end his life. McGee testified before the grand jury last week in exchange for immunity. He was currently on modified duty and had lost his gun and badge.
Much of the force, whether in defiance or fear of making waves, has simply stopped issuing traffic tickets. The NYPD has dispatched internal affairs investigators to monitor officer testimony in traffic courts and the officers have responded by writing fewer tickets, a way of avoiding court time altogether.
Part of the investigation hinged on officers who would conveniently “forget” details of a case when someone of importance was on the receiving end of the ticket. This inability to recall details of the case would lead to the charges being dropped. Sometimes the officers simply wouldn’t show up to their court dates, whether as a favor to someone else on the force whose friend or family member happened to be the defendant, or in response to a direct order from supervisors.
The vast majority of us don’t receive this preferential treatment when we are found in violation of the law, whether it so for traffic tickets or more serious criminal offenses. Instead, we are left to face the charges without any favors being handed down from the police or anyone else in the system, for that matter.