Ray Kelly's Gulag

Get on the NYPD commissioner's secret list, and you're going nowhere

Some of the people on the list seem to be there for insignificant reasons. The entry next to the name of another officer, Kathleen Clifford, reads, "Do not transfer again without explicit PC approval." Clifford's "crime": Records show that she arrived at work 25 minutes late. Her sergeant told her to change into her uniform immediately. Instead, she detoured to look at a sheet that listed assignments for the day. As a result, she was penalized 10 vacation days for failing to comply with a supervisor's order. That seems like a fairly inconsequential transgression.

Detective Roland Gutierrez, similarly, was sent to the 24th Detective Squad, again with the notation "Do not move without PC approval." Why? Well, it might have had to do with a discrimination lawsuit that Gutierrez, then with the 52nd Precinct in the Bronx, filed in 2007 with three other Latino detectives.

In suing Kelly and several other bosses, Gutierrez and his co-workers alleged that white investigators received more overtime and better assignments, court records show. They also alleged that they were passed over for promotions, and their requests for transfer were ignored.

Flickr - Marc Eaddy

Gutierrez was also accused of using a department vehicle to drive his civilian girlfriend to a baseball game and a restaurant and was placed on modified assignment. That might have been the reason, too.

Officer Luis Gutierrez was similarly frozen. His entry reads: "Do not transfer out of property clerk without PC approval."

Some officers who make the "do not transfer" list go on to distinguish themselves. Antonio Esposito made the list, but by last May, apparently, he had been rehabilitated, testifying as a key witness for prosecutors in the case of a woman beaten into a coma during a parking dispute.

James Gillespie was sent to the Sixth Precinct after being swept up in a Brooklyn South Narcotics investigation that resulted in many transfers of police officers. Gillespie in 2009 was honored by the Greenwich Village–Chelsea Chamber of Commerce as a "cop of the year" for catching a serial armed robber who committed numerous crimes in 2008.

In 2000, Detective Joseph Perry was lauded for his work in catching the murderer of a young social worker in Brooklyn. In 2006, he was credited with his role in an investigation that led to the arrest of a Queens man with a cache of firearms in his home. But he, too, ended up on the "do not transfer" list.

Sergeant Michael Miller was also placed on the "do not transfer" list, one of about a dozen officers put on there following an investigation of corruption allegations in Brooklyn South Narcotics. The notation sends him to the 120th Precinct in Staten Island.

Last month, Miller saved his own life during a struggle with a gunman by ingeniously sticking his finger into his assailant's gun barrel and forcing his thumb between the hammer and the firing pin. In other words, an officer who was transferred in the wake of one investigation was hailed as a hero a few years later.

Perhaps the most famous officer to be frozen in place by Kelly is Kenneth Boss, who was one of the four officers who shot and killed unarmed Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo in 1999. For the past 13 years, Boss, who is still on the force, has been without his police-issued guns and assigned to nonenforcement duties.

Although Boss was acquitted of all charges in the Diallo case, Kelly refuses to rehabilitate him, which is understandable. Boss has sued twice to force the department to return him to full duty, but the lawsuits were dismissed each time.

And then there's Richard Neri, who shot and killed unarmed 19-year-old Timothy Stansbury in early 2004. Kelly suspended him for 30 days. Neri was placed on the "do not transfer" list and sent to the property clerk division, where he will presumably serve out his career but remain employed and likely receive a pension. The city paid $2 million to settle a lawsuit filed by Stansbury's family.

Another officer who made Kelly's "do not transfer" list is Alain Schaberger. According to the entry, Schaberger had been on modified assignment for some reason in the Manhattan South command. Kelly ordered him transferred from Manhattan South to the 84th Precinct in Brooklyn.

In March, as he was responding to a domestic-violence call in the 84th, Schaberger was pushed over a railing and struck his head, killing him. His funeral was attended by thousands of police officers, Commissioner Kelly, and Mayor Bloomberg, who referred to him as a "quiet, gentle soul." His commander called him a "true cop's cop."

Kelly, the list indicates, appears to use certain units as dumping grounds for cops on the outs, including VIPER, the property clerks division, and the auto yards.

VIPER is a unit assigned to city housing projects, where officers monitor closed-circuit video cameras and look for crimes in progress.

VIPER is used to officers who are accused of serious misconduct, but it is also used to marooned officers who have angered their superiors or committed minor transgressions. In those instances, the effect is to keep an officer, who could be contributing to the fight against crime, off the street. One cop spent three years in VIPER after he annoyed a senior department official by complaining about the conduct of a co-worker.

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