New York Daily News

Updated September 14, 2016, 12:48 AM

  

 

NYPD cops on 'modified duty' after corruption, brutality cases are raking in cash thanks to overtime pay

BY ROCCO PARASCANDOLA, JENNIFER FERMINO, GRAHAM RAYMAN, GREG B. SMITH

It really pays to be a cop on modified duty.

When police officers are accused of wrongdoing — including in cases of brutality or corruption — the NYPD pulls them off the streets, takes away their guns and puts them on what’s called “modified duty.”

But plenty of cops put on desk duty continue to dramatically inflate their base pay with plenty of overtime, according to a Daily News analysis.

Take Officer Richard Haste, who shot and killed teenager Ramarley Graham during a drug bust that went awry, and Sgt. Scott Morris, Haste’s supervisor at the scene of the incident.

Both were put on modified duty after the Feb. 4, 2012, shooting of 18-year-old Graham inside the teen’s Bronx apartment.

Haste, who said he thought Graham had a gun, was charged with manslaughter in June 2012.

A prosecutor called Haste’s decision to fire at Graham “neither reasonable nor justifiable.”

But a judge threw out the case in May 2013, and though the Bronx district attorney took another shot at it, a second grand jury declined to indict in August 2013.

The feds opened a probe, but in March 2014 — after months of investigation — shut it down with no charges.

Haste was earning about $10,000 in overtime — on top of his $56,609 salary — at the time of the February 2012 shooting, records show.

Immediately after the shooting, he saw his OT eliminated and his salary cut slightly.

In July 2013, right after the judge threw out the case but before the second grand jury or the feds had acted, his base salary jumped to $76,488.

By fiscal 2015, he was reeling in the overtime — bringing his earnings to $88,614 in fiscal year 2015 and a whopping $94,364 by fiscal year 2016, according to records.

Morris, who was never charged, saw total earnings from salary and overtime drop off slightly after the shooting from $132,682 in fiscal 2012 to $111,380 a year later.

By fiscal 2014, he was back up to $136,646, then $138,189 in fiscal 2015. Last year, his total take-home dropped to $121,890.

The NYPD would not comment on the current status of any of the officers placed on modified duty.

Graham’s mother, Constance Malcolm, who has called on Mayor de Blasio to fire Haste and other cops involved in the shooting, was outraged to hear Haste and Morris were rewarded after the death of her son.

“The fact that Mayor de Blasio’s NYPD gives increased overtime and pay raises to officers who kill our children is disgusting, a betrayal to my family — and others — and all New York City taxpayers,” she said.

“The excuses continue, and New Yorkers should be asking serious questions about why their mayor is perpetuating the problem of police violence in our city, setting a horrible national example that is shameful.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton called the overtime payments and pay raises “adding insult to injury to the victims, the victims’ families and to the community, because what you’re really doing is you’re saying they’re on modified duty but they’re not on modified ability to earn pay.”

Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, defended the practice, saying there is no reason why cops placed on modified duty would not be eligible for overtime.

“Police officers can be placed on modified duty at the beginning of an investigation, during which time evidence is gathered and analyzed and which may or may not result in disciplinary charges,” he said.

“Modified duty is not a punitive action, nor is it a finding of any type. It is a holding action that allows due process to go forward. There is absolutely no justification to prevent police officers on modified duty from working overtime when the department requires.”

Lynch said overtime “is not a reward” — and that cops can often be ordered to take it.

Cops on modified duty often play important roles, such as monitoring video cameras in housing projects or working at courthouses.

On Tuesday, the NYPD said it would review OT practices for all officers put on modified duty.

The review came a day after it was revealed Officer Daniel Pantaleo, the cop who put Eric Garner in a chokehold shortly before he died in July 2014, had reaped big overtime benefits after the incident.

For Officer James Frascatore, a very public display of “use of force” involving a very famous person was no obstacle to OT.

Frascatore was caught on video in September 2015 body-slamming retired tennis star James Blake in Midtown. He was put on modified duty and the NYPD soon discovered he’d failed to notify his superiors of the botched arrest.

The mayor and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton both apologized to Blake at the time.

But the incident had zero impact on Frascatore’s paycheck — with OT, his total earnings rose from $69,686 the year before the incident to $74,295 in fiscal 2016.

The same thing happened with Officer Joel Edouard, put on modified duty after he was caught on video stomping on a suspect’s head in July 2014.

Indicted in February 2015, he was found guilty of assault this April. At the same time, his total earnings with OT rose from $92,423 in fiscal 2015 to $103,196 last fiscal year.

For Officers Tyrane Isaac and David Afanador, charges that they beat up a teenager during a November 2014 arrest also did little damage to their wallets.

Both were put on modified duty in October 2014. After that, Isaac saw his total income jump from $95,230 with OT in fiscal 2015 to $99,049 with OT last fiscal year. For Afanador, it went from $97,735 to $124,026.

Few cops have felt a fiscal sting post-accusation.

Rookie Officer Peter Liang was put on modified duty after he fired his weapon inside a darkened stairwell at the Louis Pink Houses in East New York, killing Akai Gurley.

Gurley, 28, was unarmed at the time.

After the November 2014 incident, Liang saw his OT evaporate. His base pay jumped from $43,644 to $49,760, but because he was convicted in February, he only collected $37,361.