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Bill Bratton Reminds Top NYPD Brass About Their Ethical Responsibilities

By Murray Weiss | June 28, 2016 5:07pm
 Police Commissioner Bill Bratton spoke during a press conference at NYPD headquarters Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton spoke during a press conference at NYPD headquarters Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

MANHATTAN — Police Commissioner Bill Bratton reminded top NYPD brass Tuesday that they risk their jobs and their freedom if they fail to adhere to ethics laws and department regulations surrounding the acceptance of gifts from the business community or the public.

At the first major summit meeting of NYPD top supervisors since a corruption scandal rocked the NYPD and City Hall, Bratton told nearly 600 officials how their disgraced colleagues had lost hundreds of thousands in back pay to be allowed to retire — and still faced the prospect of being convicted on criminal charges and sent to prison.

According to sources, Bratton avoided dramatizing the event with saber-rattling warnings, but rather used an “informative and professional” tone in reminding his executive core of captains and higher-ranking officials of their responsibilities, including adhering to the city s “public officers law” that prohibits taking anything worth $50 or more.

Last week, two police officials — Deputy Chief Michael Harrington and Deputy Inspector James Grant — were charged by the feds with taking tens of thousands of dollars from two businessmen with ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio in exchange for favors, according to Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

It's the first time since the Knapp Commission in the 1970s that high-ranking police officers have been arrested for taking graft.

In Grant’s case, he and Det. Michael Milici are also accused of taking a tawdry free private jet to Las Vegas during Super Bowl weekend in 2013 with a prostitute.

Two other officers who worked in the License Division have also been charged by the feds with taking bribes to hand out gun permits to unqualified applicants.

And one of the businessmen implicated in the NYPD scandal is already cooperating with the FBI after he was snared in a bribery scheme involving Norman Seabrook, the now-former president of the city correction officers’ union who received $65,000 for channeling $20 million in union money into a hedge fund run by a friend.

Several other top officers have also filed for retirement, wondering if they too may face criminal charges.

Even more top brass have come under fire for taking expensive free meals from the scandal-scarred former head of the Queens library system.

"I thought the commissioner was really going to come down hard, maybe even talk about demoting people if they are caught doing something wrong, but he was even-keeled," a source said. 

"Probably because none of us has been accused of doing anything wrong."

The feds, meanwhile, say their nearly three-year investigation, which began with a corruption tip involving former Chief of Department Philip Banks and has broadened to include the mayor's campaign fundraising apparatus, is continuing.