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NYPD cops testify in informant-slaying case

Two NYPD officers accused of negligently exposing a snitch who was killed just two hours after helping them make a 2004 gun-and-drugs bust testified Tuesday that they never got any "formal" instruction on handling confidential informants.

"I was never offered formal classroom training," said retired Sgt. Michael Ruggiero, one of the officers sued in Brooklyn federal court by the mother of murdered informant Anthony Velez. "But there was informal training."

Ruggiero headed a police team that raided a Brownsville apartment on Feb. 21, 2004, based on a tip from Velez, and arrested two other occupants but let Velez walk away. He is being sued for wrongful death along with the city and Velez' handler, Officer Rudolph Hall, who was also at the raid.

Hall, like Ruggiero, testified Tuesday that he had no formal training, but both officers argued that they learned to handle informants through informal on-the-job experience and training on how to think like a cop.

A third officer on the raid contradicted Ruggiero on two key points. Officer Keith Macias, now a sergeant, confirmed saying in a deposition that Ruggiero disclosed to the occupants of the apartment that police were acting on a tip from someone.

He also testified that Ruggiero made the decision to let Velez go. Ruggiero testified that he did neither.

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