Rita Ciolli Rita Ciolli

Rita Ciolli is editor of the Editorial and Opinion pages of Newsday and amNewYork.

Federal agents went to the St. James home of former Suffolk Chief of Department James Burke before dawn today to arrest him on charges that he abused his extraordinary power as the defacto head of the SCPD.

Burke's request to surrender to authorities was denied by federal prosecutors, who made him do the humiliating perp walk in Central Islip. And the new U.S. attorney for the Eastern District, Robert Capers, was at the courthouse for the unsealing of Burke's two-count indictment.

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The former chief is charged with physically abusing a suspect who stole his gym bag, reportedly containing "nasty porn," and then arranging with his detectives to falsely testify before a federal grand jury investigating the case to cover up his involvement.

The feds are sending a message, but to whom?

This was featured in The Point, the editorial board’s daily newsletter that goes inside New York politics. Click here to subscribe.