New York Daily News

November 5, 2002

PBA warns judge: We're watching


T he head of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association vowed yesterday to pack the Queens courtroom of a judge who sprung a suspected cop shooter without bail.

PBA President Patrick Lynch said cops will be out in force at a hearing Friday to pressure the judge to put William Hodges back behind bars.

"It is outrageous that the judge is on that bench," Lynch said. "Because of her decision, a cop killer is out on the streets. And that's what he is. He shot that cop to try and kill that cop. He is a future cop killer."

The Daily News reported Sunday that Queens Supreme Court Justice Laura Blackburne freed Hodges on Oct. 16, three years after he allegedly shot a cop with his own gun.

Lynch and the officer who was shot, David Gonzalez, believe Blackburne may have shown favoritism to Hodges, 31, because she and the suspect's mother belonged to the same NAACP chapter. The two women have denied knowing one another.

Blackburne set Hodges free after ruling he had been denied a speedy trial. The judge agreed to hear prosecutors' arguments Friday and ordered Hodges to be in court then.

After the Nov. 12, 1999, shooting, the NAACP's southeast Queens chapter filed complaints against Gonzalez and other cops involved in Hodges' arrest.

The suspect's mother, Sandra Hodges, charged her son was the victim of police brutality, said the chapter's president, Leroy Gadsden.

The Integrity Bureau of the Queens district attorney's office investigated the NAACP's complaints and found the cops used appropriate force to subdue Hodges, who allegedly was carrying a loaded handgun and making a living as a small-time crack dealer.