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DOJ: Four Officers Plead Guilty to Federal Crimes This Week

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Three former NYPD cops pleaded guilty to a bribery scheme while a former New Orleans police officer pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old crime victim in a rough week for law enforcement criminal misconduct. 

Two NYPD officers brought damaged vehicles to a tow truck company operated by a former NYPD cop in exchange for bribes. According to the Department of Justice, all three officers have pleaded guilty to the scheme this week. 

James Davneiro and Giancarlo Osma were the two officers working for the NYPD at the time of the scheme for the 107th Precinct in Queens. Michael Perri, who worked at the same precinct, retired in 2020 to start his tow truck business involved in the scheme. 

Davneiro and Osma received thousands in bribe payments from Perri in dealings for bringing vehicles damaged in automobile accidents to Perri’s licensed tow trucking and automobile repair business instead of using the NYPD’s Directed Accident Response Program (DARP), as legally required. 

DARP mandates the NYPD to determine appropriately licensed tow trucking and automobile repair businesses to respond to automobile accident scenes and remove damaged vehicles. 

“These three officers abused the public’s trust and disgraced their NYPD badges by lining their pockets with bribes,” said United States Attorney Breon Peace. “This Office will continue working closely with our law enforcement partners to vigorously investigate and prosecute corruption by those who are sworn to enforce and uphold the law.”

Each defendant faces up to five years in prison when sentenced. In addition, as part of their respective pleas, Davneiro has agreed to forfeit $25,000, Osma has agreed to forfeit roughly $26,011, and Perri has agreed to forfeit around $158,277.

“The investigators of our Internal Affairs Bureau left no stone unturned in this case because there is zero tolerance in the NYPD for corruption of any kind,” said NYPD Commissioner Sewell. “We worked tirelessly in this case, alongside our partners in the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney’s Office, to ensure that those who swore to serve and protect the public but violate that trust face severe consequences.”

Earlier this month, courts cracked down on corrections officers sneaking contraband into jails. 

Meanwhile, a former New Orleans police officer pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old crime victim. 

While working as a New Orleans Police Department officer, Rodney Vicknair accompanied a then 14-year-old girl, a victim of sexual assault, to the hospital to undergo a forensic exam, also known as a rape kit. Vicknair gave the victim his cell phone number and offered to be her friend and mentor. 

“The defendant’s job was to protect a child who was a victim of sexual assault,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.” But instead he exploited her vulnerabilities and abused his position of power to carry out his own sexual assault of the victim.” 

“Law enforcement officials who sexually assault children are not above the law,” Clarke added. 

Court documents say Vicknair and the victim spoke on the phone in the following months and traded messages on Snapchat. In addition, Vicknair frequented the victim’s residence in uniform. Over time, Vicknair’s comments grew sexual, according to the documents. 

“The safeguarding of all of our citizens’ civil rights is an essential part of our Constitution, especially for crime victims,” said U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans for the Eastern District of Louisiana. “Any violation of these rights, especially when committed by a law enforcement officer sworn to protect the rights of our citizens, is particularly disturbing.” 

“The public must be able to trust that law enforcement will execute their sworn duties honestly and faithfully and, if not, that they will face the consequences of their actions,” Evans added. 

In September 2020, Vicknair arrived at the victim’s house when the victim was 15. He asked her to join him in his vehicle, which she did. Vicknair locked the doors so he could proceed to touch the victim’s genitals under her clothing without her consent. 

The defendant admitted in court that he acted without a legitimate law enforcement purpose and knew his actions were wrong and against the law, but that he engaged in such conduct anyway.

“The preservation of civil rights and the investigation of Color of Law violations are of utmost priority for the FBI,” said Special Agent in Charge Douglas A. Williams Jr. of the FBI New Orleans Field Office. “Today’s guilty plea sends a clear message that individuals like Rodney Vicknair will be held responsible and no one is above the law.”

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