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Misdeed menu of dirty 30 cop

April 16, 1997

Police Officer Joseph Walsh of the 30th Precinct was sentenced last month to six months in prison after pleading guilty to perjury, tax evasion and civil-rights conspiracy charges.

Walsh, the 29th Dirty Thirty officer to be convicted, received the light sentence because he cooperated with prosecutors investigating the largest scandal in a single precinct in the city's history.

Before his sentence, the U.S. Attorney's Office, which prosecuted Walsh, offered a letter to the sentencing judge, Charles Haight Jr., outlining his cooperation.

The letter included a description of Walsh's misdeeds, which were so vile and voluminous they require two columns to describe.

Walsh became a police officer in 1989, wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Horowitz, and upon joining West Harlem's 30th Precinct was assigned to a "conditions unit" of 10 to 12 cops under Sgt. Kevin Nannery, known as Nannery's Raiders.

Their job was to respond to apartment buildings suspected of being drug dens.

The unit began a practice of "booming," or breaking in doors, of these buildings without search warrants. Sometimes unit members called in false reports to justify going into apartments.

The unit also engaged in a practice, referred to as a "key job," which involved stopping someone, finding his key and using it to enter an apartment, searching it, arresting the individual if drugs were found, then devising a story so that the arrest would be sustainable in court.

Initially, the unit's criminal activity was limited to unlawful searches and seizures and committing perjury to ensure the arrests were not dismissed and the illegal searches not disclosed.

Over time, the unit's members began stealing money to buy drinks after work. They called it "beer money." Until his arrest in 1994, Walsh estimated he stole $50,000.

One of his more egregious acts occurred on Dec. 10, 1991, after his tour ended and he and Officer William Knox went to a bar in the Bronx, then got into an argument outside it. Walsh drew his revolver, which discharged, striking Knox in the shoulder. The two then concocted a story to protect Walsh.

After driving himself to Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, Knox told investigators he'd been shot in the shoulder by a mugger on 196th Street and Broadway.

Printable versionHe described the mugger as - what else? - a black male, 30 years old, 6-foot tall and wearing a waist-length black jacket and denim jeans.

The police went to 196th Street and Broadway, interviewed residents and actually brought a man to the hospital for Knox to identify. The two never acknowledged they made up the story until after they were arrested.

While working with police officers Theodore Giovanniello and Kevin Kay, Walsh committed a series of crimes.

On May 16, 1992, while patrolling near 620 W. 141st St., he stopped Luis Garcia, searched him, took his keys and entered an apartment. There, Walsh found cocaine, guns and cash beneath an open floorboard. Walsh arrested Garcia and took $8,000.

He then testified before a grand jury that he'd chased Garcia into the apartment following a radio report of shots fired, observed the open floorboard and arrested him.

On Jan. 14, 1993, while Walsh and Kay were on patrol inside 533 W. 151st St., the officers saw a man leaving an apartment with a tin of cocaine.

The officers arrested him, along with an associate, then brought them inside the apartment and searched it, finding more drugs and $2,000.

Walsh and Kay then called for a sergeant, as is required, and Sgt. Richard McGauley responded. Walsh kept several hundred dollars, which he later shared with Kay and McGauley, and vouchered the rest as evidence.

Giovaniello, Kay and McGauley were also sentenced to prison as part of the scandal.

The largest theft Walsh participated in occurred in July, 1993, when he and Kay stopped a Cadillac on West 155th and Riverside Drive. Walsh took the driver's keys and used them to open the trunk.

Inside was a brown bag containing thousands of dollars. Walsh took $16,000 and the officers allowed the driver to leave. He and Knox split the money at Knox's home.

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© 1997 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.