Policing Their Own

What the NYPD Did Not Reveal About Former Chief Louis Anemone

ANEMONE: Eighty-seven, '88, like that.

KELLEHER: How would you evaluate Officer Pickett as a police officer?

ANEMONE: Uh, he needed a little additional supervision—more than the average.

KELLEHER: Did you ever have any unusual dealings with him or remember anything specifically that stands out about him?

ANEMONE: Uh, no. I think he had an off-duty shooting—shot and killed somebody within the confines of the precinct in Washington Heights.

Pickett died last year.


As the session wore on, Chief Kelleher seemed to veer off course, asking whether Anemone was familiar with Phillip Norris, the late numbers banker and proprietor of a candy store at 761 Lenox Avenue in Harlem.

"No," Anemone said coolly, "I can't say I [am]. I [don't] know even the name or the location." Kelleher then paused and asked whether Anemone had ever visited the store.

"Uh, I, I don't recall," he responded. "You know, I, I very well may have, but uh, [it] doesn't ring any bells right now." From then on, Kelleher turned to extremely broad questions. At any time during Anemone's tenure in the 32nd Precinct did he ever take dirty money?

"No," Anemone replied.

"From any gamblers or gambling locations?"

"No," Anemone insisted.

Kelleher then dropped the name of Barrington Myvet, a 22-year department veteran who reportedly was among the first cops to confide in Officer Acosta about allegations that Anemone was accepting payoffs from gamblers. Anemone explained that he had recommended that Myvet be assigned to a security post he was interested in at Harlem Hospital after "someone else there . . . lost the assignment."

"How would you evaluate Officer Myvet as a police officer?" Kelleher asked.

"Uh, he was, uh, he was better than average," Anemone said.

"You recall any unusual dealings with Myvet?"

"No."

"You recall the last time you saw or spoke to Officer Myvet?"

"Uh, in the last few years, I think I've seen him once or twice. . . . "

In December 1995, Internal Affairs launched simultaneous investigations of Myvet and Acosta. The investigators accused Acosta of lying, claiming that Myvet never gave him damaging information about Anemone. But Acosta insisted he had a taped telephone conversation with Myvet, spewing all he knew about their boss. Internal Affairs charged Acosta with impeding an official department investigation by failing to provide a tape of the conversation. In 1996, rather than be tied up in legal battles with the NYPD, Acosta resigned. Shortly afterward, the department initiated disciplinary proceedings against Myvet for denying to investigators that he was Acosta's confidential informant. Acosta subsequently defied a subpoena to testify against Myvet, who was hit with a 30-day suspension. Myvet, who is currently assigned to the 25th Precinct in Harlem, did not return calls for comment.

Next, Kelleher floated the name of Officer Jeff Christopher, who served under Anemone in the 32nd Precinct. "Um, I think [Christopher] ran into some problems after I left, but I may have had him at some point or another on a, uh, ICO [Integrity Control Officer] list as a potential target to be watched."

"Any particular reason why?" Kelleher asked.

"I think it might have had to do with off-duty conduct or possibly use of, uh, controlled substances," Anemone replied, adding that the last time he saw Christopher was when the officer "may have had business" at police headquarters after Anemone had been promoted either to chief of patrol or chief of department. Then, for the first time, Kelleher asked Anemone about the allegation that he had ripped off a dying man in Harlem.

"Chief, do you recall an incident whereby you responded to a . . . call of a male shot [at] 420 St. Nicholas Avenue, sometime during 1988?"

"Four-twenty St. Nicholas?" Anemone mused.

Kelleher quickly rephrased the question: "Let me, let me repeat it, just to make it clearer," he said. "You recall an incident whereby you responded to a [call about] a male shot? This male subsequently expired at the hospital. Location of the aid was 420 St. Nicholas Avenue, which is at 131st Street."

"I can't say I do right now," Anemone said.

Well, had Anemone heard about the allegation that money retrieved from the man "may have been missing or possibly mishandled"? Anemone claimed he hadn't.

"You don't recall the EMS responding or anything else regarding the, uh, the case?"

"Uh, just to . . . clarify," Anemone said, chuckling. "I responded on an awful lotta those over the years there."

Finally, Kelleher got to the point. "Do you recall an incident with an aided, in the street, where Officer Christopher ever handed you money to be vouchered?"

"Yes," Anemone emphatically replied.

Asked to elaborate, Anemone said that Christopher may have been the first officer on the scene after the shooting, "and may have handed me money that he had found on the, uh, victim." Anemone added that he "may have handed" the money to someone else, who had responded with him, and that it eventually was vouchered. Did Anemone recall counting the money? "I may have," he said. "I may not have."

"Do you believe that you may have handed someone else the voucher?"

"I do not," Anemone said.

"Do you recall who that was?"

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