Members of the NYPD’s corruption-busting Internal Affairs Bureau have been reduced to little more than plumbers of late, with the unit focused on plugging leaks to the media, according to police sources. In recent months, IAB grilled cops over photos and videos related to three recent, high-profile investigations that ended up in the hands of reporters, disciplining officers in two of the cases, according to police sources.
The effort has come at the expense of more serious probes, the sources griped. When was the last time IAB caught a dirty cop and made an arrest? fumed one insider. This is all ‘white socks’ bulls–t, the source added, using law-enforcement parlance for a picayune uniform infraction. Earlier this month, two lawmen were stripped of their guns and badges for leaking to the press dramatic videos of a cop-hating madman shooting up The Bronx’s 41st Precinct station house, wounding a lieutenant.
In December, a photo made the rounds of a civilian who infiltrated the 71st Precinct station house in Brooklyn, put on an officer’s unattended clothes and tried to pass himself off as a cop. The IAB quizzed one detective visible in the background of the photo and temporarily placed him on modified duty when he told investigators that he didn’t know who snapped the picture, the sources said. Instead of worrying about who put a video out, they should worry about precinct-house security, said one source of that incident. But they won’t talk about that.
And after photos showing the bloody aftermath of a quadruple homicide in a Brooklyn gambling den were obtained by media houses, police bureau chief in October, the IAB tried to identify the source. But when that effort failed, the NYPD summoned Twitter for the journalist’s data, withdrawing the request only after newspaper lawyers contacted the department. Even Ed Mullins, the outspoken head of the NYPD’s sergeants union, is under investigation by the IAB, in part for his public assertions that Barnard College freshman Tessa Majors was out buying pot when she was murdered in Morningside Park in December, the sources have said.
Meanwhile, the NYPD issued a strict new social-media policy for its officers earlier this month, stressing that officers not post any case details that haven’t already been made public, including images from crime scenes. Inappropriate postings can damage a case, alert a suspect or further wound a victim, an NYPD spokesman said.