Monday, December 08, 2008

Three Officers Indicted for Inserting Police Baton in Man's Buttocks

Three city cops at the center of a sodomy investigation turned themselves in to the Brooklyn District Attorney's office early today to face criminal charges.

Officers Richard Kern, Alex Cruz and Andrew Morales were ushered into the downtown Brooklyn office by the attorneys around 6 a.m. They each declined to comment.

The three cops are expected to be indicted this morning for assaulting 24-year-old Michael Mineo in a subway station Oct. 15.

A fellow cop accused Kern of inserting his police baton between Mineo's buttocks as officers tried to arrest and cuff the tatoo shop worker for allegedly smoking marijuana.

Kern's lawyer John Patten declined to discuss the indictment Monday. Kern, 25, has previously denied he acted improperly.

Mineo originally said it was Cruz, 26, who violated him as he lay face down in the Prospect Park station, held down by two other police officers.

But NYPD transit Officer Kevin Maloney testified before a grand jury that it was Kern who wielded the baton, sources said.

"My client steadfastly maintains his innocence and he observed no misconduct," Cruz' lawyer Stuart London said Monday.

Mineo said he felt vindicated by a grand jury's decision.

"At first a lot of people weren't believing me, but I left it in God's hands," he said Sunday on the Rev. Al Sharpton's radio show. "I'm pleased with how everything is going."

Mineo expressed gratitude to the transit cop for breaking the so-called Blue Wall of silence and telling the grand jury what happened.

"I do appreciate him coming forward," he said. "I'd like to thank him."

Lawyers for Mineo hailed the indictment and announced they plan to file a federal civil rights suit against the city, the NYPD and the officers involved.

"The man was held down and raped," lawyer Kevin Mosley said after Mineo spoke.

Lawyer Stephen Jackson said Monday all the cops involved should be charged with "serious felonies."

"Anything short of jail time will be a miscarriage of justice," Sharpton said.

Jackson said the grand jury interviewed more than 20 witnesses and examined physical evidence of injuries to Mineo's rectal area. Sharpton and Mineo's lawyers blasted the NYPD for rushing to publicly clear the officers after the alleged assault.

Days later, Maloney became the star witness at the grand jury that brought charges against Kern.

"The internal affairs department of the New York City Police Department repeatedly said that ... [Mineo's] charges were groundless," Sharpton said. "Clearly police cannot police themselves.

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