Former Suffolk County Police Chief At Helm Of Corruption
The Westchester Criminal lawyers with offices in the White Plains and midtown New York City are all too familiar with incidents involving police officers using excessive force on inmates or suspects in police custody. However, the long-standing corruption that allegedly existed within the Suffolk County Police Department perpetuated by ex-chief James Burke is at the helm is almost unfathomable. The Suffolk County Police Department is among the top 15 largest police forces in the country with nearly 2,000 officers and patrols most of eastern Long Island.
The ex-chief of the Suffolk County Police Department, James Burke, was criminally charged with deprivation of civil rights and conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and plead not guilty. In 2012, Burke allegedly took revenge against and beat a man who stole a bag from Burke’s work vehicle which contained his gun belt, ammunition, sex toys, pornography, and other items. In an attempt to retrieve the embarrassing items, Burke abused his discretion as a police office by entering the house of the suspect’s mother to search for evidence and ultimately retrieve his bag. Despite the abuse of authority by Burke and cover-up by the Suffolk Police Department, the suspect was charged and sentenced to three years in prison. During the investigation the ex-police chief used unreasonable and excessive force while interrogating the suspect in a holding cell at the precinct, in which he attempted to cover-up by instructing his subordinates to report that while he was in the precinct, but did not participate in the interrogation. Further, Burke allegedly threatened to kill the suspect with a lethal dose of heroin known as a “hot shot.” Burke continued the abuse as he threatened, punched and kicked the suspect who was already chained to a bolt in the floor.
However, it appears that the beating of the suspect was only the tip of the iceberg. According to prosecutors, James Burke poses a threat to the Long Island community because of his nearly three decade long stint with the police force and the ongoing coercion and secrecy within the police force which included, among other things, paying to hide evidence that he was drunk and crashed his car while following a state official, and planting a GPS device on a rival’s car in order to “dig up dirt” on her and destroy her career. At the grand jury proceeding approximately 11 current and former police officers testified against him, which led to the judge holding him without bail. Although the Judge had originally made a decision to keep the trial closed to the public, opposition challenging the legality of a closed trial voiced from various news organizations such as The New York Times and Associated Press led to the decision to be overturned.
Our New York City criminal lawyers at the Law Office of Michael H. Joseph are steadfast in their determination and pursuit to uphold the law and to hold law enforcement officials accountable for their actions in situations such as these. No matter the charges alleged, our lawyers will ensure that officers are held accountable for their unreasonable or excessive actions.