Cop jailed in race case
The NYPD cop accused of making a racially motivated arrest and using a racial slur dropped his effort to get out of jail Wednesday and was ordered detained by a magistrate in Brooklyn federal court.
Officer Michael Daragjati of Staten Island, who prosecutors say threatened physical violence prior to his arrest on Monday, had sought a bail hearing. But his Police Benevolent Association lawyer told Magistrate Joan Azrack that Daragjati's family was retaining a private attorney, who would pursue his release at a later date.
Daragjati's family declined to comment after his court appearance on Monday, but his father Larry said as he left court Wednesday, "He's my son and I love him."
Daragjati, a nine-year NYPD veteran, has been accused of violating the civil rights of a black man, a misdemeanor, for making up a charge to arrest him, and later telling a friend, "Another n-- fried, no big deal." He also faces unrelated charges of extortion and insurance fraud relating to a snowplow business he ran.
The PBA lawyer, Michael Martinez, said Daragjati, married with three daughters, had a solid record as a cop with hundreds of arrests and no blemishes until now. He said Daragjati is being held in protective custody, away from other prisoners.
Scam case to jury
Jurors began deliberations Wednesday in the case of a political operative accused of scamming Mayor Michael Bloomberg out of $1.1 million by promising an elaborate poll-watching operation, then spending just $32,000 on the effort and pocketing most of the rest to buy a house.
John Haggerty's lawyers argue he was made into a scapegoat after a New York Post reporter began asking questions about the payments for a program that 2009 Bloomberg campaign manager Bradley Tusk said on the stand could look bad to the public.
The defense argues the campaign tried to distance itself from a project that could be associated with voter suppression by paying for it through the state Independence Party. They argue Bloomberg lost control of the money when he made the contribution, and Haggerty can't be held responsible for a budget he threw together and submitted to the campaign. Bloomberg says he followed standard campaign practices, and he is not accused of any wrongdoing.
Spy probe urged
A former Homeland Security Department civil rights lawyer, speaking at a Justice Department civil rights conference Wednesday, implored the federal government to investigate the New York Police Department for its secret surveillance of Muslim communities.
Sahar Aziz, a Texas Wesleyan University law professor, said the NYPD monitoring of mosques, Islamic bookstores and Muslim student groups needed to be looked into because the NYPD serves as a model for departments nationwide. She said reports by The Associated Press about the NYPD's intelligence unit have troubled Muslims around the country.
"What's on their mind?" she said to an audience that included the Justice Department's top civil rights officials. "That's on their mind."
An AP investigation that began in August revealed the NYPD's use of plainclothes officers, known as "rakers," who pose as customers and eavesdrop in Muslim cafes and bookstores.
Hundreds of mosques and student organizations were investigated and dozens were infiltrated as the NYPD built intelligence databases about all aspects of life in Muslim neighborhoods.
NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said such programs give police a crucial head start in the event of a terrorist plot or attack. But he said police don't make those decisions based on ethnicity and only follow leads in launching investigations.
Compiled with wire