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Despite transit cop’s testimony, 3 NYPD officers acquitted in sodomy case

By Ron Brynaert
Monday, February 22, 2010 12:08 EDT
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Kern acquittedOnly three weeks ago, The New York Post reported that “the blue wall had fallen.”

On February 1, the NY Daily News reported, “A nervous NYPD cop delivered damning testimony against a fellow officer Monday, telling jurors how the officer shoved a retractable baton into a suspect’s backside.”

“Officer Kevin Maloney’s turn on the witness stand marked the most dramatic moment of the trial and the biggest blow to the defense,” the Daily News added.

WABC’s Tim Fleischer agreed, “Cop testifying against cops. It was a rare scene in court and by far the most damaging to at least one of the three officers on trial.”

“It was pressed on Michael Mineo’s left buttock,” The Post reported that Maloney testified. “I saw it move from left to right . . . Yes, there was pressure being applied. It went from left to right, into Michael Mineo’s butt crack.”

He also reported hearing Mineo shout, "Why did you stick a walkie-talkie up my ass?" after which he heard Kern say that the perp was an "EDP" -- an emotionally disturbed person.

However, over the next three weeks, as a Google news search reveals, Maloney’s name all but disappeared from the daily reports on the case.

It appears that jurors may have also forgotten.

Monday morning, the Associated Press reports, “A New York City police officer accused of a sodomy attack on a drug suspect in a subway station was acquitted Monday along with two other officers who had been accused of covering it up.”

“Officer Richard Kern had faced as many as 25 years in prison if convicted of aggravated sexual abuse,” the AP story adds. “Officers Andrew Morales and Alex Cruz could have faced up to four years in prison on charges of hindering prosecution.”

Last week, the Daily News reported, “While defense lawyers angrily lashed out at prosecutors and alleged victim Michael Mineo, prosecutors focused on a police witness who came forward to testify against fellow cops.”

“He’s got no axe to grind,” prosecutor Charles Guria said of Officer Kevin Maloney, who testified that he saw Officer Richard Kern shove a police baton into Mineo’s underwear after an Oct. 15, 2008, arrest in the Prospect Park subway station.

“He doesn’t know either one of them from Adam, and he came forward and risked his career and his standing in the police department,” Guria said.

“Why would he do that if he’s not sure of what he saw?”

Guria also said that Kern, on the other hand, had plenty of reasons to lie when he took the stand to deny the charges of aggravated sexual assault that could send him to prison for 25 years.

A Times blog last week also made brief mention of Maloney.

A Times story the day before characterized the showdown as, “Jurors will have to sift through the sometimes conflicting testimony of four police officers: Mr. Jugraj; Mr. Kern and Mr. Morales, who took the stand in their own defense; and Kevin Maloney, a transit officer, who testified that he saw Officer Kern jab his baton between Mr. Mineo’s buttocks.”

Now that the officers have been cleared, Maloney may have difficulties at work. But then again, even if the officers weren’t cleared, history shows that police officers like Maloney that break the so-called blue wall end up marked forever, as other police officers refuse to work with them and promotion opportunities vanish.

At press time, the Associated Press’s comprehensive story on the acquittal never mentions Maloney once.

“A transit system police officer who witnessed the struggle testified for the prosecution,” the AP story states.

Little of the prosecution’s case is mentioned in the AP report, as compared to the successful defense.

The defense also challenged Mineo’s credibility. He had told jurors that he ran from the officers partly because he wasn’t carrying identification. Defense attorney John Patten produced a photograph of Kern, in uniform, looking at what appears to be an ID card that Mineo had handed to him.

“Defense doctors testified that Mineo could have had a pre-existing medical condition to explain the abscess, and that the officer’s alleged actions would have made his injuries more severe.

In many ways the case hinged on the believability of Mineo, a self-professed member of the Crips gang who has been arrested several times and admits to smoking pot regularly.

The New York Post reports “PBA President Pat Lynch, who supported the officers, hugged the trio afterwards.”

“This case goes to show how New York City police officers are falsely accused. … This is case where someone had dollar signs in their eyes and they thought they could do it on the backs of police officers,” Lynch said.

The Post also neglects to mention Maloney.

Mineo is quoted as saying in reaction, “My reaction? You want to commit a murder? Come join the NYPD.”

 
 
 
 
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