One Police Plaza

NYPD official to go on trial

October 21, 2005

Mark this time and date in your notebook, readers: 3 p.m., Dec. 15.

That's when Deputy Commissioner Garry McCarthy goes on trial in New Jersey, following his confrontation eight months ago with the Palisades Interstate Parkway Police over a parking ticket issued to his daughter.

According to the report of parkway Det. Thomas Rossi, after McCarthy and his wife, Regina, caused an obscenity-laced physical disturbance, Rossi grabbed McCarthy's semi-automatic pistol, which was displayed in his waistband. When Rossi placed the gun in the rear seat of his patrol car, Regina McCarthy grabbed it and Rossi had to tackle her to retrieve it. Rossi and his partner, Roman Galloza, then handcuffed McCarthy and his wife.

Both were charged with personal violations. Each has pleaded not guilty, as has their daughter Kyla for her parking ticket.

Meanwhile, on Jan. 9, a month before the New Jersey disturbance, McCarthy was involved in another incident, this one involving an NYPD cop.

According to police union sources and a department official who asked not to be identified, the officer, on the midnight tour with the Manhattan North Task Force, stopped a relative of McCarthy's for drunken driving. The driver called McCarthy on his cell phone but the officer refused to speak with McCarthy. Instead, with the backing of his sergeant and lieutenant, the officer arrested the driver.

McCarthy tried to have the officer, sergeant and lieutenant transferred. Behind-the-scenes discussions between a union trustee and top brass averted that. After the New Jersey incident, McCarthy backed off his demands, the sources said.

Neither McCarthy's attorney, Ron Fishman, nor Chief Raymond Diaz of Manhattan North returned calls seeking comment.

So far, McCarthy, who has served as deputy commissioner of operations under the past three commissioners, has not faced departmental charges. After the New Jersey incident, police spokesman Paul Browne said McCarthy's actions did not rise to the level of discipline.

Forgiven. Perhaps Pasquale D'Amuro's most ephemeral accomplishment as head of the FBI's New York office was his renunciation of Anthony Bergamo's Federal Law Enforcement Foundation as a support group for the agency.

D'Amuro never publicly revealed the reasons he objected to the group of fat cat buffs who must donate $25,000 to become members. But they include inappropriately flashing replica FBI plaques and badges, as well as having on its board a gentleman arrested for allegedly soliciting a prostitute.

In addition, it was Bergamo, a vice president of the Milstein real estate company, who provided the Ground Zero apartment that former police commissioner Bernard Kerik used to rendezvous with his girlfriends.

Well, all has apparently been forgiven by D'Amuro's successor, Mark Mershon. Bergamo is back in the bureau's good graces. He promises there will be no more plaques or badges, although the arrested gentleman has been allowed to remain on the board.

Next week, the group throws a shindig at the Waldorf-Astoria. Attending will be Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and guest speaker Bill Clinton, who is said to have waived his customary $100,000 fee.

Conroy's fate. Police Officer Bryan Conroy will know his fate today for having shot to death Ousmane Zongo, an unarmed African immigrant, during an undercover raid on a Chelsea warehouse nearly two years ago.

Conroy, who was dressed as a mailman, testified he shot Zongo during a struggle after Zongo fled. He also testified he'd previously drawn his gun to identify himself as a police officer.

Since acquittal seems unlikely, Conroy's best hope is that State Supreme Court Justice Robert Straus finds him guilty only of criminally negligent homicide when he announces his decision this morning. A conviction for second-degree manslaughter could land him 15 years in jail.

In a previous trial, jurors voted 10-2 for conviction, resulting in a hung jury. That was seen as a victory for Conroy, but it proved to be a pyrrhic one.

©2005 Newsday, Inc.Reprinted with permission.