A 2015 tip from an officer complaining about gambling and prostitution problems in the department led to an internal affairs investigation. Now, seven NYPD officers have been arrested for their involvement in a Queens prostitution and gambling ring.
In addition to the seven officers, forty people outside the NYPD were arrested Wednesday, and two detectives were placed on “modified duty”.
BREAKING: 7 members of the NYPD, including current detectives and sergeants, as well as several former NYPD officers, have just been arrested for running a prostitution and gambling crime syndicate.
— Shaun King (@shaunking) September 12, 2018
The seven cops allegedly provided protection for the ring that operated out of Queens and Brooklyn, and notified the operators if police were looking into them. They will be prosecuted by the D.A.’s office in Queens.
“Today, those who swore an oath and then betrayed it have felt the consequences of that infidelity.” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said to local news. “The people of this Department are rightly held to the highest standard, and should they fail to meet it, the penalty will be swift and severe.”
A retired vice detective was at the center of the probe, which is ongoing. 30 more NYPD officers are expected to be questioned.
The retired detective allegedly married a prostitute and together the pair opened multiple brothels on Roosevelt Avenue in Queens and in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn.
But those are far from the only crimes in Queens the NYPD covered.
In March, a whistleblower Sgt. Steven Lee talked about “the karaokes“. Those were gaudy neon-and-mirrors night clubs with rent-by-the-hour karaoke suites that could come furnished with women or drugs if a patron knew who to ask. The karaokes clustered around Northern and College Point boulevards.
“Sometimes we would do inspections, or we’d get a job, a 911 call to that area, and we’ll go to that location, and the cops would come up to you and say, ‘Hey, be careful. This is Sung’s place’,” Lee told the New York Post. “And you’d be like, ‘What do you mean?’ And they’d say, ‘Sung hangs out here, so just be on your toes, or he’s going to fuck with you.”
Lee referenced NYPD’s Lt. Robert Sung, who along with his right-hand man Detective Yatyu Yam inserted themselves in any investigation around the karaokes.
Taken in total, situations like Lee’s account or the seven arrests Wednesday pain a picture of a deeply corrupt NYPD, particularly in Queens, defending illegal activities where their own interests are concerned. But they also paint a picture of an NYPD with whistle-blowers, trying against the odds to keep the department honest.