Let’s go to the tape. The NYPD closed its investigation into a lieutenant accused of roughing up a fellow cop at the mayor’s mansion in part because it couldn’t find security footage of the alleged assault — but the Daily News did.
The grainy footage captured a snippet of an alleged confrontation between Lt. Karl Pfeffer and Sgt. Roland Jerome on Sept. 13, 2017, outside a security booth at the mayor’s home on the Upper East Side. The mayor and his wife were in the residence at the time.
Jerome alleged that the head of the mayor’s security detail, Inspector Howard Redmond, swept it under the rug.
The NYPD said Wednesday that it did not open an Internal Affairs investigation into the incident until after The News disclosed it in August 2018.
Police spokesman Phil Walzak said the NYPD closed the investigation in December as “unsubstantiated” following a “thorough investigation.” A police official said because the Internal Affairs Bureau investigation did not start until September 2018, any security video had long been erased.
The decision to close the investigation left Jerome shaking his head. “This is an example of top brass taking care of their own,” he told The News.
While the NYPD said the security video was erased within 30 days after the incident as per policy, a source was able to supply The News with the video.
The video shows, as Jerome claimed, that Pfeffer shoved the other cop after the lieutenant allegedly stormed into Gracie Mansion irate that Jerome had allowed a female detective to go home early. Jerome says that Pfeffer shouted loud enough that Jerome was sure the mayor and his wife heard the argument.
Earlier, according to Jerome and other sources, Pfeffer had run up on a curb in his department car in his haste to get to Gracie Mansion. Jerome said previously that he smelled alcohol on his breath that night.
Sources said the head of the security detail, Inspector Redmond, convinced Jerome not to independently file a complaint, saying he would investigate the incident himself. Redmond did not respond to a request for comment.
That should have triggered a series of official interviews of NYPD personnel on duty at Gracie that night, sources said. However, Redmond did not take any of those steps, the sources said, nor did he notify the Internal Affairs Bureau as required.
“He should have called Internal Affairs,” a police source said. “They would have held the whole 4 to 12 tour and they would have interviewed everyone. They would have checked phone records. They would have gotten GPS data on Pfeffer’s car and checked his credit card use. They would have secured the security video. It’s a hindering of an investigation.”
Walzak did not respond to questions about Redmond’s handling of the case. Redmond is said to be a favorite of de Blasio. Redmond has so far continued to keep his job even though six detectives in the mayor’s detail have sued, alleging he discriminated against them.
Questions also lingered about the extent of the Internal Affairs investigation. Jerome said the unit not only didn’t tell him the probe had been closed, it never formally interviewed him and didn’t tell him anything about what they did to prove his allegations.
Walzak said a thorough investigation was conducted by Internal Affairs.