A criminal court judge gave an 18-year-old gangbanger accused of shooting an off-duty police officer in East New York $50,000 bail — a pittance that angered cops looking for justice.
Judge Linda Proust’s ruling last week sent shock waves through the NYPD, which demanded that suspected shooter Eric Greenidge get a higher bail for the Oct. 3 shooting.
Police say that Greenidge, a member of the “Very Crispy Gangsters,” was sitting in his car in a McDonald’s parking lot at 4 pm when he spotted a member of a rival gang. Greenidge allegedly pulled a gun and began blasting at his rival, accidentally hitting Police Officer Dawn Foster, a 17-year member of the NYPD.
Foster, a Queens cop who was off duty, had came to the McDonald’s to pull money from the ATM, witnesses said.
A stray bullet from Greenidge’s gun hit Foster in the arm. Stunned, the woman ran back to her car and sped to her mother’s house, where she called 911 for help. Her wound was treated at an area hospital.
Cops identified and arrested Greenidge after a brief investigation, charging him with assault and criminal possession of a weapon.
But when he was brought before Judge Proust, a $50,000 bond was set, meaning he would only have to hand over $25,000 to get back out on the street.
Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch was angered by the decision — which he saw as a slap in the face to cops everywhere.
“In the annals of lousy calls, this one is particularly bad and it needs to be rectified before this thug hurts or kills anyone else,” Lynch said. “Given the level of violence on our streets and the proliferation of guns in this city, how bail can be granted to a convicted criminal under these circumstances defies logic.”
An assistant commissioner for the city’s Housing Preservation and Development responsible for signing off on lucrative construction contracts was on the take, FBI officials claim in an indictment filed in Brooklyn Federal Court last Thursday.
Federal investigators claim that since 2002, Wendell Walters, 49, allegedly pocketed more than $600,000 from deep-pocketed real estate developers looking to scoop up contracts to Housing projects throughout the city.
The indictment, which charges Walters with conspiracy, bribery and racketeering, claims that Walters took bribes for a handful of projects in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn. The project in Brooklyn was near Bushwick, officials say.
Walters would allegedly award the contract to whoever paid him the most, officials claim, charging that he awarded more than $10 million in contracts to one developer who gave him regular installments of $25,000. Most of the hand-offs would take place on a golf driving range, according to the indictment.
Six developers were arrested with Walters when the indictment was unsealed on Oct. 6. Walters was released from custody after paying a $500,000 bond. Attempts to reach his attorney were not successful.
Prosecutors said they would vigorously pursue the case until Walters is brought to justice.
“New Yorkers relied on [Walters] for the safe haven of affordable housing,” Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “Instead, the defendant allegedly put his own greed over the needs of low-, moderate- and middle-income New Yorkers.”
Officials at Housing said they were cooperating fully with investigators.
“There is no room for corruption or bribe seeking in government and these circumstances pain us deeply on a number of levels,” the agency added in a statement. “We are here to serve the people, not to take advantage of our positions for personal profit.”
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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