- 16 members of New York's police department are indicted after 3-year investigation
- The scandal is the second in a week to hit the department
- Supporters line up outside courthouse in support of the officers
- Those indicted have pleaded not guilty to the charges, says the district attorney
Sixteen members of the New York Police Department have been indicted on charges they were involved in "highly organized, systematic" misconduct that included a large-scale ticket-fixing operation, among other allegations, city and police officials announced Friday.
The scandal is the second in a week to hit the department. On Tuesday, five active and three retired officers were among 12 people charged with conspiring to transport and distribute firearms and stolen goods across state lines.
The ticket-fixing operation allegedly involved summonses to people closely acquainted with the officers, including family members and friends. The indictments allege that some officers tampered with the tickets to result in them being thrown out, according to a press release from the Bronx District Attorney's Office.
"It's difficult to have to announce for the second time this week that police officers have been arrested for misconduct," New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a press conference Friday afternoon. "Their misdeeds tarnish the good name and reputation of the vast majority of police officers who perform their duties honestly and often at great risk to their own personal safety."
Five civilians were also named in the indictments, unsealed Friday by the New York Supreme Court.
The indictments are the culmination of a nearly three-year investigation by the police department's Internal Affairs Bureau. The probe began in December 2008 with an anonymous tip about a police officer in the Bronx allegedly "engaged in various illegal business activities with a reputed drug dealer," the district attorney's office said.
Over the course of the investigation, detectives continued to discover more suspected misconduct, including the alleged ticket-fixing operation, as well as uncovering "the alleged failure of police officers to make an arrest and subsequent attempt to cover up an assault" by a suspect connected to the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, a police union, the district attorney's office said.
More than 1,500 felony and misdemeanor charges were filed in connection with the investigation, including attempted robbery, attempted grand larceny, theft, tampering with public records, official misconduct, conspiracy and assault.
The indicted officers appeared in court Friday, where they received a round of applause by supporters and fellow police officers outside of the courthouse.
"A courtesy has now turned into a crime. And that is wrong. Something that is institutional in the NYPD and accepted has landed on the shoulders of New York City police officers," Pat Lynch, the police union president, told reporters.
All of the individuals indicted pleaded not guilty, the district attorney's office said.