A Democratic Nassau County legislator has asked the FBI to audit police department crime statistics, which he contends were manipulated to support a precinct consolidation plan that discriminates against minorities.
Carrié Solages (D-Elmont) announced Thursday that he sent a letter to the FBI on Monday. Backing the request at the Elmont news conference were Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick) and Wayne Wink Jr. (D-Roslyn).
"We respectfully request that this audit be conducted as expeditiously as possible, in light of the imminent closure of the 5th Precinct and the threat to public safety that may result," Solages wrote.
The letter maintained that the consolidation plan has a "disproportionately negative impact on black, Hispanic and other minority communities in Elmont and elsewhere.
"We have concerns that the falsified crime statistics may have been a pretext for deliberative racial discrimination in the selection of precincts to be closed," the letter states.
FBI officials said Thursday that they had not yet received the letter.
First Deputy Commissioner Thomas Krumpter said race had nothing to do with the consolidation plan. By turning the first four precincts into two precincts and two community centers, "public safety has been improved and significant money has been saved," he said.
Thomas DePaola, the commander in charge of the 5th and 6th precincts, was recently demoted for misclassifying and not counting certain crime statistics, but Krumpter said there's no evidence of a broader problem.
"We did an extensive audit . . . to ensure that this was not a systemic problem within the organization," he said. "We found that our error rates were well below the national average and standards. We also have corrected all of the misclassifed case reports we found."
The Democrat's request for an audit comes after Republican Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt refused to call hearings on the issue after the commander's demotion.
Denenberg said the crime data problem "could clearly be more widespread than the [Republican] administration has reported, and needs to be investigated before any more consolidations are done."
Patrick Nicolosi, president of the Elmont East End Civic Association, said police in the area are constantly battling crime.
"Closing the 5th as a precinct isn't consolidation, but a travesty that doesn't save any money and opens us up to more crime," he said.