A story has emerged that a NYPD officer had been issuing bogus traffic tickets, some of which were given to people long deceased. The officer in question says he did so to satisfy departmental bosses who were pushing for monthly quotas to be filled.
He was fired in June, and now the situation has ended up in court.
According to the Consumerist, (via New York Post) the officer indicated, after receiving pressure from higher ups over red-light and seat-belt violations, he issued fake tickets.
Over a period of time, it was noticed by colleagues that the cop in question never had to testify in any of the summonses he'd given out. Eventually, this led to his superiors taking a closer look at what he was doing, and he was subsequently arrested, and then fired.
The New York Post reported the former officer, NYPD 17-year veteran Paul Pizzuto, filed a lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court after he was let go from his job at the 120th Precinct in Staten Island.
He says he never had the chance to a disciplinary hearing before he was fired, but NYPD said a hearing was not required since his offense was considered to be an “oath of office" issue.
The lawsuit says the officer was pressured to issue more summonses and warned "he would be moved" if he didn't comply. The court papers outline how Pizzuto carried out the issuing of fake tickets:
"[Pizzuto] prepared summonses by taking information from legitimate summonses that he had issued in the past. But he prepared the summonses in such a way that [they] would not impact any motorists,” according to the filing.
New York Daily News elaborates reporting that Pizzuto had sent in the summonses to his superiors, having issued extra tickets using names from old tickets, some of which were to dead people, but did not report them to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The officer “always issued summonses to motorists who deserved the summonses” and “did not want to issue summonses just to fulfill an increased quota,” the lawsuit said.
NYPD says Pizzuto was padding his overtime by issuing bogus tickets.
“It was the dumbest scam in the world,” one law enforcement source said Thursday, reported the Daily News.
Pizzuto, 41, pleaded guilty in May to three counts of falsifying business records and was given a sentence of community service, his firing came a month later.
Huffington Post points out if Pizzuto's claims about quotas turn out to be true, the NYPD "is likely to be criticized for their use of illegal quotas."
Two other officers were also charged with similar offenses regarding bogus tickets, although charges against one of the policemen were dropped.