After a jury acquitted all three cops accused of participating in the sodomy of a Brooklyn man during his arrest in 2008, Officer Richard Kern—who faced the most serious charge of aggravated sexual abuse—told reporters, "I hope to get back on the street and do what I love to do: protect the people of Brooklyn." But it's going to be quite some time before that happens, if it happens at all. As the Times reports today, the three officers still face legal challenges within the Police Department, as well as the possibility of prosecution on the federal level.
Officer Kern's current job is monitoring video footage at public housing projects; his co-defendants, Officers Alex Cruz and Andrew Morales, are also on modified duty. That's where they'll stay while the NYPD conducts its internal administrative review, which could lead to a departmental trial or result in disciplinary action for such infractions as not notifying a supervisor or calling an ambulance. (After subduing Michael Mineo, who resisted arrest after getting caught smoking marijuana, they eventually released him with a summons.)
Mineo, who is living with his fiancee, is pressing on a multimillion-dollar civil lawsuit. It's unclear whether the federal prosecutors will also pursue the case; last week they declined to take up a civil rights case against police officers who shot and killed Sean Bell in a barrage of 50 bullets outside a strip club on the day of his wedding. The Times reports that four of the five officers involved in that case are still on desk duty 22 months after being found not guilty.
And the fate of Officer Kevin Maloney, who testified that he saw Kern sodomize Mineo with a police baton, is even less certain. One legal expert and former cop tells the Times, "They’re not going to risk putting him back in the field. You don’t talk about what goes in the business. The so-called blue wall hasn’t changed."