The New York Times
NEW YORK (AP) - The city's police commissioner on Sunday promised a
thorough probe into whether police helped protect a fellow officer convicted
of running down a family of four after a 12-hour drinking binge.
Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters there would be a meeting Monday
exploring the issues raised by the Aug. 4 tragedy and subsequent trial.
"We want a thorough examination to go forward," Kelly said after
published reports suggested that the so-called blue wall of silence, in
which police protect other officers, aided Joseph Gray.
One report said Gray had offered to take a sobriety test following the
accident, but fellow officers ignored his request.
Gray was convicted Friday of second-degree manslaughter for the deaths
Maria Herrera, 24, who was eight months pregnant, her 4-year-old son and
16-year-old sister. Gray was also charged with the death of Herrera's baby
boy, who was delivered after the accident but also died. Gray faces up to
years in jail.
After the accident, then-police Commissioner Bernard Kerik transferred,
suspended or modified the job descriptions of 17 officers from the precinct.
Three officers were fired.
Kelly had directed the Internal Affairs and Legal Affairs bureaus to
monitor the trial, and on Sunday said he wants to know whether further
discipline or procedural changes are needed.
One investigator who has since retired testified during the trial that
had sought to give Gray "a benefit" in his handling of the accident.
Testimony also showed that police union officials had asked which sobriety
test Gray would be most likely to "beat."
Gray, who has retired, testified that he drank as many as 13 beers during
a 12-hour period after completing his overnight shift, beginning in the
police parking lot and continuing at a Brooklyn strip club that was off
limits to 72nd Precinct officers.
Gray's attorney, Harold Levy, conceded that Gray was driving while
intoxicated, but claimed his client's high alcohol tolerance gave him the
"ability" to drive.
Gray's blood alcohol content was measured at .16, an NYPD chemist
testified. The legal limit is .10.