An “unabashedly racist” retired New York police officer and his two associates, who are currently on the force, face serious federal charges for numerous illegal activities and scams. It’s something out of a typical drama show about corrupt cops, but this time it’s real life.
Gothamist reports that veteran cop Robert Smith, 44, orchestrated a scheme involving current NYPD officers Heather Busch, 34, and Robert Hassett, 36 — all from the 105th Precinct in Queens– that prosecutors say involved a lucrative illegal drug and bribery rings dating as far back as 2016.
All three officers took thousands of dollars in kickbacks for directing vehicles wrecked in accidents to a specific tow-trucking company and picked up their earnings from a set mailbox. Somehow, they could bypass software used in the police department that automatically selects tow operators for the damaged cars.
Smith and Hasset allegedly used the database to search for victims and provided the information to a middleman who could sell it to personal injury lawyers and physical therapists. As it turns out, that person was working undercover.
In another sting operation, Smith took a job working security for a drug ring– citing his ability to carry his retired NYPD documents and a firearm as a good qualifier for the position– and was paid $1,200 for delivering what he thought was a kilogram of heroin.
Smith, an unapologetic racist, was also caught on recorded conversions bragging about his criminal behavior while referencing the KKK.
“Bro, I robbed everyone,” he allegedly boasted. “Bro I point my gun out the window now at n—ers and watch their reaction and drive away. Hilarious.” Prosecutors also have him bragging about other crimes while before his retirement, including “threatened people, cheered for suicides and deaths among other cops and expressed an affinity for the Ku Klux Klan,” reports NBC New York.
In case you are wondering, Smith had more than 14 misconduct complaints during his time as an NYPD officer, one of which involved using offensive language toward a Black woman.
Of course, the police department released a statement against the behavior of their criminal cops. “There is zero tolerance in the NYPD for corruption of any kind,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a statement Tuesday. “Wherever it is alleged, our NYPD investigators, with our partners in the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York, work tirelessly to ensure it is punished to the fullest extent of the law.”
Busch and Hassett are facing five years for the towing bribery scheme. Smith, who once proclaimed to be “one of the most corrupt cops in the 105,” is also charged with attempting to transport heroin and possessing a firearm. If convicted he faces life in prison.