Ernie Naspretto, Kerry Burke and Dave Goldiner, New York Daily News, August 8, 2007
Four NYPD traffic enforcement agents were charged yesterday with issuing dozens of phony tickets for cars parked on Manhattan streets, authorities said.
The bad-apple agents wrote up cars for bogus offenses and many times didn’t even bother to put them on vehicles, so drivers found out about them only in the mail, police said.
“It’s outrageous, but it doesn’t surprise me,” said Jayson Marshall, 24, of the Bronx. “It’s more about them meeting a quota than about serving, protecting or even doing their jobs.”
Cops arrested Gregory Baird, 56, a 29-year veteran; Julian Fisher, 24; Raheem King, 27, and Davey Griffin, 30.
All of them live in the Bronx and worked in Manhattan.
They face charges of forgery, falsifying business records and official misconduct following a two-month probe, said Chief Charles Campisi of Internal Affairs.
Authorities say the traffic agents had a simple reason for the bad-ticket drama—laziness.
Instead of hunting for real lawbreakers, the do-nothing ticket hawks simply wrote up nonexistent violations. In other cases, they cited real violations but doctored the times to make it seem they were working when they were really wasting time.
Investigators who staked out the agents found they rarely even left the comfort of their air-conditioned squad cars. One agent wrote 19 bad tickets in one day while another penned 17.
Forty-eight bogus tickets were voided, but authorities admit there could be many other drivers who were improperly cited.
The agents often targeted cars with out-of-state plates, apparently assuming the drivers would be less likely to fight the tickets.
Probers were tipped off when they noticed a high number of complaints. The busted agents often filled out an odd number of handwritten summonses, a tactic to avoid using hand-held computers that have a time stamp.