GREENWICH VILLAGE — The NYPD has taken administrative action against a total of six high-ranking department officials in connection with a federal corruption probe, and is poised to take further action "as the investigation proceeds," Deputy Commissioner Larry Byrne said.
Byrne, who's the NYPD's commissioner for legal matters, said he and the chief of the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau are "getting daily briefings" and keeping Police Commissioner Bill Bratton "up-to-date."
"[Bratton] will make decisions as new information comes to light," Byrne said at New York University Law School on Thursday. "We will reevaluate constantly any new information we receive and if appropriate take new action."
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The ongoing joint investigation between the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau and the FBI, working with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, dates back to at least late 2013, Byrne said.
But no official actions were taken until just last week, when Bratton stripped two high-ranking officials of their guns and badges and reassigned two others to different posts. Another deputy chief was reassigned on Wednesday, and a detective from the 66th Precinct was also found to be involved.
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The officials are accused of accepting gifts from developers and businessmen, in the form of cash and other gifts, in exchange for favors. Two of the businessmen involved were major donors to de Blasio's election campaign and part of his inauguration committee.
The probe has even ensnared former NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks.
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Byrne, in agreement with Bratton's recent statement that the NYPD hasn't seen darker days since the 1970s, spoke of "the cloud that it's put over the outstanding work of the 36,000 officers in the department."
"As Police Commissioner Bratton said last week, the public has the right and the imperative to demand trust and integrity from their police department and we have to deliver that — which is why any officer of any rank who is acting contrary to what we expect will be disciplined administratively and down the road," Byrne said.
Bharara's investigation is now focusing on how Mayor Bill de Blasio raised money for his campaign and Campaign for One New York, sources said.
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Both the men accused of bribing police were part of de Blasio’s inaugural committee when he was first elected, and donors to his campaign.
The mayor attempted to distance himself from the probe and refused to answer questions on the matter. He has since hired a white collar criminal defense lawyer.
Uptown politicians are scrambling to return campaign donations from one of the men, but the mayor said he will wait for the outcome of the federal probe before deciding whether to to return their campaign donations to him.
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Byrne said he "can't speak to" how much longer the investigation will take "at this point," but noted it's already been more than two years.
"It's going to continue for some time," he said. "And then we'll reach the point where the U.S. Attorney will decide whether criminal charges are appropriate, we'll decide whether we'll be filing administrative charges and those proceedings will go forward."