A New York police sergeant is suing the NYPD for $35 million, claiming the police department was planning to frame a commanding officer for rape in order to distract from a corrupt back-door deal the department had with Queens nightclubs.
The New York Post reports that NYPD Lt. Robert Sung and Detective Yatyu Yam were arrested in 2016 for allegedly taking bribes from two Queens karaoke bars that appear to have hosted illegal activity in exchange for alerting ownership about planned police raids. But NYPD Sgt. Steven Lee alleged in a notice of an upcoming lawsuit against the department that the corruption was far more widespread and that the NYPD was prepared to frame one of its own in order to cover up the scheme.
In court filings obtained by the New York Post, Sgt. Steven Lee, who was an undercover officer in an Internal Affairs investigation, claims that Lt. Sung told him he was planning to frame Thomas Conforti, the commanding officer of the 109th Precinct, for raping an escort in order to direct attention away with the NYPD’s deal with the club owner Jimmy Li.
Sgt. Lee claimed in an interview with the New York Post that he told his superiors about Sung’s plans, and that the department did nothing. He said he was directed to limit the scope of his probe, and that then-Police Commissioner Bill Bratton discouraged him by blocking promotions and subjecting him to internal investigations. He also said that audio recordings he obtained as part of his investigation of the corruption mysteriously malfunctioned.
“The police always claim they can clean up after themselves, but they can’t,” Lee’s attorney Eric Sanders told the New York Post.
“The watchers are corrupt. The whole internal investigation process is a big joke.”
A spokesman for the NYPD declined the newspaper’s request for a comment and Bratton has not yet responded to a request for comment.
[Feature image: Associated Press/Former NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton]