Members of Elite NYPD Unit Request Transfer After Fellow Officer Indicted
NEW YORK (AP) _ All 250 Emergency Services police officers have requested transfer from the elite unit to protest the indictment of an officer charged in the killing of an elderly woman during an eviction, a union president says.
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Phil Caruso also said Monday that the police union has ordered its members not to use force in any situation until a supervisor arrives at the scene.
Caruso said officers in the Bronx and Brooklyn called to mediate family disputes or calm emotionally disturbed persons have also been instructed to wait for an assistant district attorney before acting.
″I never thought it would come to such a point of dismay, a point of disillusionment, a point where police officers no longer know where they stand in enforcing the law and protecting the people of this city,″ Caruso told about 200 cheering PBA delegates at a regular monthly meeting.
″Until we get redress to our grievances, we will not, regrettably, be able to perform our duties as effectively and proficiently as we feel we should be able to do,″ he added.
Caruso’s announcement came five days after the indictment of veteran Emergency Services Officer Stephen Sullivan for second-degree manslaughter in the October shooting death of 66-year-old Eleanor Bumpurs.
Mrs. Bumpurs was shot twice by Sullivan as police tried to evict her from her Bronx apartment. Police said she lunged at officers with a kitchen knife and appeared to be emotionally disturbed.
Meanwhile, the grand jury that indicted Sullivan sent an unusual letter to Mayor Edward I. Koch faulting city agencies’ handling of the case and urging the mayor to make improvements.
In the letter, released Monday, the panel criticized the Human Resources Administration, the Housing Authority and the police for their roles in Mrs. Bumpurs’ death.
Koch responded by ordering an update on measures being taken to improve the city’s handling of such cases. In a letter, he said officials were doing ″all in our power″ to avert similar incidents.
Deputy Inspector Raymond J. Abruzzi said Monday the Police Department has not received any transfer requests from Emergency Services officers.
Caruso said the transfer requests were a ″symbolic act″ protesting the Sullivan indictment and tougher guidelines on the use of police force. He said he expected them to be denied.
The PBA rules were issued ″because of the tremendous degree of confusion″ between the new guidelines and an officer’s training, Caruso said.
The department had no comment on the PBA’s actions, said spokesman Sgt. Raymond O’Donnell.
Caruso said the PBA was requiring that an assistant district attorney be on hand in Bronx and Brooklyn situation because ″that’s where we’ve had the most trouble.″
He said the PBA would cancel its edict if a special prosecutor is appointed to replace Bronx District Attorney Mario Merola, who likened Sullivan’s action in the Bumpurs shooting to SS troops following Hitler’s orders.