Gary Parker testifies in Nassau cop corruption trial

Gary Parker, Zachary Parker's father, takes the stand Gary Parker, Zachary Parker's father, takes the stand at the William Flanagan police misconduct trial in Mineola. (Jan. 28, 2013) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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The police benefactor who prosecutors say called in favors with his high-ranking Nassau cop buddies to get his son out of burglary charges testified Monday that, days after his son stole electronics equipment from his high school, the school principal told him she would not pursue criminal charges in the case.

Gary Parker's testimony bolstered the defense of William Flanagan, who was a second deputy commissioner for Nassau police at the time of the 2009 burglary. That's because it contradicts testimony from John F. Kennedy High School Principal Lorraine Poppe, who said on the stand she was clear about wanting to pursue charges against Parker's son, Zachary Parker.

Prosecutors contend police did not investigate the burglary as a favor to Gary Parker.

"She said she'd spoken to the superintendent, and they'd agreed not to press charges," Parker testified of a May 26 meeting with Poppe.

Parker was subpoenaed by prosecutors to testify, he said. He is listed in the indictment against Flanagan as an "unindicted coconspirator," meaning prosecutors believe he took part but did not charge him.

Still, in nearly six hours of questioning, prosecutor Bernadette Ford drilled Parker about his chummy relationships with Nassau police and other law enforcement officials.

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He said soon after he learned that his son had stolen more than $10,000 of equipment from the school, he called his friend, then-Deputy Chief of Patrol John Hunter, and asked to meet him at a diner.

"I expressed incredible disappointment in Zach, and as a friend he was very comforting to me," Gary Parker testified. "I literally sat there and cried."

Parker said he brought Hunter a police identification card and some uniform shirts that Zachary had from his part-time job at the police department.

"I was extremely upset," Parker testified. "I was disappointed in my son, and I wanted to get rid of something that he cherished."