James Burke, Ex-Police Chief for Suffolk County, Is Arrested

10 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Former NY police chief accused of covering up beating.

James Burke, the former police chief of Suffolk County, on Long Island, was arrested on Wednesday on charges of civil rights violations and obstructing a civil rights investigation, according to an indictment that was unsealed in federal court. The charges followed a 2012 episode in which police searched the Smithtown home of a man suspected of breaking into cars and stealing their contents; in the raid, items were discovered that belonged to the police chief, whose car had been among the vehicles that were burglarized.

Christopher Loeb is arrested at his Smithtown home on charges related to allegations he stole a police gun belt and ammunition from a vehicle used by Burke. Prosecutors didn’t immediately announce charges, but former Suffolk County Police Chief James Burke had been under scrutiny for years over an allegation that he beat a prisoner in 2012.

Burke, who resigned two months ago amid the federal investigation, had been robbed of his gun belt, several magazines of ammunition, a humidor and box of cigars, clothing and a bag of toiletries, according to the government. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, who appointed Burke in 2012, confirmed in October that Burke’s departure was related to a renewed federal investigation.

Capers, a prosecutor with the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, described the events that followed the raid: Officers called in Mr. The U.S. attorney’s office announced that it would hold a news conference in Central Islip later Wednesday morning, although it did not specifically mention Burke’s arrest. Loeb’s mother, Jane, says her son wrote her a letter alleging he was “beat up” in his home during his arrest and then “even worse at the precinct,” and he says it was Burke who punched him. Law enforcement sources also reveal Burke went to the Fourth Precinct, where Loeb was being processed, and had the detectives’ squad room cleared of everyone except for Loeb and himself.

Burke initially was investigated by the FBI in 2013 on suspicion that he may have abused the man, who was suspected of stealing a gun belt, ammunition and handcuffs from Burke’s department-issued vehicle. As for Loeb’s allegations, “they’re a fabrication of a two-time felon, admitted heroin dealer,” Conway told reporters, including 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera. Loeb’s attorney, Amy Marion, issued a statement saying, “We are gratified that this long overdue prosecution has begun and we look forward to seeing that justice is done.

Newsday has reported Burke was being investigated for confronting Christopher Loeb inside a Long Island police station after Loeb was arrested for breaking into the chief’s department-issued SUV. Capers said Burke, even while under investigation, met with officers involved with Loeb’s arrest “to agree on ways to get their stories straight.” “And by getting their stories straight I mean having everybody agree on a story that in some way hid the fact that Burke assaulted Loeb,” he added.

It has responsibility for patrolling much of eastern Long Island, although the Hamptons and several other towns also have local police departments that patrol those areas. Newsday reports that a 1995 internal affairs probe admonished Burke for twice losing his police-issued service weapon and carrying on a sexual relationship with “a felon known to be actively engaged in criminal conduct including the possession and sale of illegal drugs, prostitution and larceny. “ Jan. 15, 2014. Burke resigned his chief of department post as federal officials reactivated their probe into police conduct in the theft of the chief’s duffel bag.

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