Thursday, May 30, 2002


The presence or absence of gunshot residue on a person's hands and the target surface provide scientific data used to determine whether or not somebody touched or fired a gun and to determine the target-distance information.

This data has been used by forensic scientists and medical examiners for many years to determine the possible manner of death - whether it was a suicide, homicide, or an accidental shooting.

When a firearm is discharged, the rapid oxidation of the gunpowder creates a tremendous amount of energy associated with hot gases, soot, and partially burned gunpowder. These materials are generally referred to as gunshot residue, or GSR.

GSR originates from the detonation of the primer, gunpowder, and other components of the ammunition. Some of these materials are propelled forward with the projectile toward the target as well as backward onto the shooter's hands and clothing. The components of GSR may be detected if samples are collected from the hands or clothing of the shooter, before washing or removal by other means.

GSR can also be found on the target, such as the victim's body, clothing, or other target surfaces, if the gun muzzle is close enough in range. Therefore, detection of GSR has two primary objectives: to determine whether an individual fired or handled a recently discharged firearm and to determine the muzzle-to-target distance. Distance-to-target can play a vital role, as we all know, in helping to distinguish between a self-inflicted gunshot wound and a distance shot attributable to murder.

There are cutrrently several tests used to determine gunshot residue data. Diphenylamine (DPA) testing, the Modified Griess Test, the atomic absorption spectroscopy (AA) test, the induced couple plasma spectroscope (ICP) test, and the scanning electron microscopy (SEM) with elemental analysis method.

The first two of these tests, the DPA and the Griess tests, are considered screening tests that provide general information and are used for field test of GSR pattern analysis, while AA, ICP and SEM are considered more specific laboratory tests.

(Works cited: "Cracking Cases: The Science of Solving Crimes" by Dr. Henry C. Lee).


"You can get a lot more done with a kind word and a gun, than with a kind word alone."
Al Capone


A recent column in the NY Daily News, written by Mike Daly, highlights a very interesting story that also concerns former Deputy Commissioner Ed Norris.

Norris, former squad commander of the 17 Squad, had a quite interesting contact with the Feds back in the early 90?s.

As it was mentioned by my esteemed colleague, Tommy Joyce, pointing the finger at the Feds and attempting to place "blame" for the 9-11 attack is not really appropriate. However, after reading this article, rightly or wrongly you may feel a little differently.

Once again, does anyone NOT think that the fight on terrorism if it is to bring all agencies together and become a coordinated effort needs a "Federal-Compstat".

Senate hearings are a nice way for Senators to keep themselves in the media; results, though, requires a true "Compstat" approach - accountability and responsibility, in one room, with a results oriented approach. We see it all too clearly here; we have lived through such a process. Why are the Feds resistant?

Anyway, if you get time, check out the column. Sure to be an interesting read.


Brooklyn North sees some good people moving onward, and other good people rewarded for their work, in the last go-round of promotions.

"Lots of Luck" to the promotees to Captain, Butch Neacy (81 Sqd C.O.) and John Corbisiero (83 Sqd C.O.). We'll surely miss you; and we all look forward to having you back in the Boro someday and working for each of you! (P.S.: You're both still invited to the Squad Commanders Monthly Conference! Extra crispy wings for everyone!).

Also, promoted to Detective 2nd Grade, Jim Kennedy (75 Sqd) and Steve Swantek (81 Sqd). Well deserved promotions to both!


A certain unnamed squad commander and precinct C.O. are taking Chicago by storm this week.

Plans to view baseball from the monumental Wrigley Field are included in this unnamed duos agenda for the week. Perhaps an afternoon barbecue on the rooftop overlooking Wrigley will be in order. Surely someone's cell phone worked extra hours on this pre-trip networking expedition.

I envy your good time, and can only hope you take pictures! We'll be looking after the 79 in your absences.


Sgt. Mark Pouria is accompanying Det Kevin Smith and Det Angel Jimenez on a trip to Florida in search of a perp for a non-fatal shooting.

Can you picture the scene on this airplane? Kevin Smith, always calm, cool, and collected, is not a fan of airline travel. He especially dislikes flights in and out of LaGuardia ("THE RUNWAYS ARE TOO SMALL #@&!$%?"). Anyone taking bets on how long before Kevin gets into an argument with a member of the crew?

Sources have it that Angel's been cutting out Taco Bell and McD's coupons for the past week ("We?ll eat good, and we can save the lunch money"!).

Yea, this will be a trip to remember.


You can always contact the Minister of Investigation by e-mail at:

Tuesday, May 28, 2002


Taken from the ?Monthly Investigators Tips? section of the John E. Reid & Associates web site, which has been noted on this page in the past, the following are some ?Considerations for the Use of Evidence During an Investigation?.

The investigator should first use ?factual analysis? to analyze and identify possible suspects and assess each suspects' probable involvement in the offense. Next, is the interview of possible suspects to develop additional investigative information and behavior symptoms indicative of truth or deception. When a suspect exhibits deceptive behavior during the interview, the investigator may move into the final step of the technique which is to interrogate that person. The interrogation is conducted in an effort to learn the truth from that individual.

In some cases an investigator is able to gather enough evidence of a suspect's guilt that a confession is not needed to successfully prosecute that person. Collecting prima facie evidence of a suspect's guilt, however, is a rare occurrence. In most cases the investigator only obtains circumstantial evidence that points toward a particular suspect's probable involvement in a crime. In other cases, there may be limited physical or testimonial evidence that further implicates the suspect.

When inviting a non-custodial suspect in for a voluntary interview, do not mention specific evidence that points toward that person's guilt.

There are basically two reason why guilty suspects voluntarily agree to be interviewed or take a polygraph examination. The first is the belief that they can lie without being caught. The second is that they do not want to incriminate themselves by being the only person who is not cooperating with the investigation. However, this entire thought process changes considerably when the investigator reveals incriminating evidence to a suspect.

Remember that just because an investigator has probable cause to arrest a suspect, he is not obligated by law to place that suspect in custody.

During an interview, never bring up evidence until first giving the suspect an opportunity to tell you about it voluntarily.

Common mistake investigators make during an interview is introducing evidence prematurely. Consider a hit and run case where the investigator knows, from talking to a body shop mechanic, that the suspect replaced a headlight and damaged grill on his vehicle three days after the accident. The suspect told the mechanic that the damage occurred in a parking lot where someone must have backed into his car. If, during the interview, the investigator shows the suspect a copy of the work order and asks him to explain how his car got damaged, obviously the suspect will relate the same story he told the mechanic. However, if the investigator first asks questions much more meaningful information may be learned.

Use evidence strategically during an interrogation.

The vast majority of interrogations are conducted on suspects for whom there is insufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Before a suspect will accept the consequences of his crime by telling the truth, he must first believe that there is already a high probability that his guilt has been, or will be established. If an investigator begins an interrogation by laying out circumstantial evidence that tends to implicate the suspect's possible involvement in the offense, the suspect will immediately recognize that there is insufficient proof of his guilt to obtain a conviction. Consequently, early introduction of evidence during an interrogation often reveals the weakness of the investigator's case. In addition, when an investigator reveals specific evidence during an interrogation the suspect has something tangible to attack.

A successful interrogation relies extensively on pretense and innuendo. If circumstantial evidence is introduced at all, it should be mentioned in passing as if it is the icing on the cake. It doesn't take a skilled defense attorney to successfully attack circumstantial evidence - most criminal suspects are quite capable of doing this on their own.

In conclusion, despite television portrayals of investigators routinely gathering overwhelming forensic evidence of a suspect's guilt, in real life the most common form of evidence admitted at trial is the spoken word.

Examples include a victim's physical description of the defendant, eye witnesses who can identify the defendant, witnesses who refute the defendant's alibi, witnesses who offer testimony relating to the defendant's motive or propensity to commit the crime and the defendant's confession.

Because investigators often only develop evidence that tends toward proving a suspect's involvement in a crime, but is insufficient to prove guilt, the evidence must be used judiciously. In some cases, an investigator is better off not mentioning circumstantial evidence at all. Remember the adage that it is sometimes better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

If you haven?t already done so, you should ?bookmark? the John E. Reid web site for regular review.


Computer Crime Resources

Urban Legends Reference Pages.


An earlier posting noted the NYPD vs. FDNY Football game being played at Giants Stadium.

As most of you know, the NYPD team beatr the Fire Department at this game, which was broadcast that day on MSG and this past week on Network TV. Great going, guys!

Anyone who attended the game was treated to a great time, and heartfelt thanks go out to Tommy Smith of the 79 Squad who helped providing some VIP tickets to Brooklyn North. It was a real treat to everyone, and extra special seeing the team come out with a win.

Great work!

Friday, May 17, 2002


Coming off a fantastic win in Tampa, the NYPD Football team faces their biggest rival this Sunday, May 19, at Giants Stadium when they face the FDNY Team.

Spawned 30 years ago from a barroom argument, the annual football
classic between the Fire Department and the Police Department this Sunday has
Added significance - and poignancy - because of the tragedy of Sept. 11.

"We lost 21 players on 9/11 so this is a special game," Neil Walsh,
president of "The Bravest" firefighters' team, said of the 30th annual
Fun City Bowl."

His counterpart for "The Finest" Police Department team, Deputy Insp.
Stephen McAllister, said although a number of his players rushed to the
World Trade Center disaster none was lost.

Walsh and McAllister said the game itself - which will be played at
Giants Stadium this year instead of St. John's University - has become
secondary to its overall purpose: to honor those killed in the terror attack and to
raise money for the families of police officers and firefighters who died or
were injured in the line of duty.

"The game is still important, and we want to win," said McAllister, who
heads the police department's Technical Assistance Response Unit. "But
it is not that important when you look at it. This is not life and death."

The playoff game - the winner will play the Los Angeles Police
Department in the championship game of the National Public Safety Football League
June 8 in Orlando - is expected to attract a number of dignitaries, including
President George W. Bush, Gov. George Pataki and the city's former and
current mayors, Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg.

Brooklyn North�s own, Det. Tommy Smith of the 79 Squad, is an active team member and supporter who looks forward to all of his Brooklyn North buddies taking the time to come and root the team on.

The 3 p.m. game will be televised on the Madison Square Garden cable
Network, for those that cannot get out there in person.

The first bowl game was played in 1973 following a lively barroom
Discussion over which team was the best. Since then, "The Finest" are 20-9 against
"The Bravest" and have won the last 8 games.

Let�s Go Team!


Did anyone happen to see the recent issue of GQ that had a photo feature of the NYPD Football Team?

Two full page photos ran, one of the team in their football uniforms, and the other of the team dressed to the nines in absolute GQ suits.

They looked great, and if you missed it you should make a point of finding a copy.

By the way, I took notice that Tommy Smith wasn�t photographed. What�s up with that, Tommy?


The use of a Forensic Anthropologist in the investigation of death is utilized more often than many may imagine. Just how does this specialist assist the investigator?

The assessment of trauma in skeletonized remains requires the ability to distinguish between perimortem trauma and postmortem damage.

Perimortem trauma is damage caused to bone in the interval surrounding the time of death. The interval is defined by the time period during which the bone is "green" or behaves with the plasticity of its living state. Any trauma that occurs while the bone is fresh and green is perimortem trauma including damage that occurs shortly after death. Perimortem trauma that would have either contributed to or is directly associated with the cause of death is classified as trauma associated with the cause of death. For example, perimortem rib fractures can occur in a victim without those fractures being the cause of death, but the accompanying cranial gunshot wound would be trauma associated with the cause of death.

Forensic anthropologists are trained to recognize the types of trauma that can be found on bone including blunt force, sharp force, gunshot wounds, and burning. By visual inspection, touch, use of a light microscope, and radiography, the anthropologist can identify these forms on trauma from the characteristic marks they leave on bone. Blunt force trauma is associated with fractured or crushed bone, such as in a greenstick fracture or a depressed cranial fracture.

Blunt force injuries to green bone may leave clear identifying marks of the instrument used to inflict the trauma, such as grooves or direct impressions of the weapon.

Sharp force trauma includes incised cuts, stab wounds, and chopping injuries. This type of trauma leaves an assortment of marks, such as nicks, punctures or serrated grooves, which are observable by touch, plain vision, and under the microscope.

The anthropologist may make a silicone cast of cutmarks for later comparison to the cutting edge of a suspect weapon. Gunshot wounds, especially to thin or tabular bones, have characteristic beveled shapes. Bullets frequently leave traces of lead on the bone, which can be seen on an x-ray. Typical fracture patterns are found on bone burned during the perimortem interval. Fire damage may occur in conjunction with other forms of trauma, so the anthropologist is prepared to find evidence that might be obscured by the charring and breakage caused by burning.

Postmortem damage occurs after death, after the bone has become brittle from decomposition and drying. Some damage may occur during recovery such as marks acquired during excavation from shovels, trowels or probes, damage from careless handling such as breakage, and marks from scalpels or scissors. Other forms of damage are from natural agents such as dog or other carnivore chewing, rodent gnaw marks, root etching, and flaking and cracking caused by exposure to sunlight.

Attempts to dispose of remains also will cause postmortem damage, such as cutmarks, chemical burns, and burning from fire. Forensic anthropologists are careful to minimize the occurrence of postmortem damage during and after recovery of remains. Postmortem damage is distinguishable from perimortem trauma by the lack of indicators of plastic behavior in the bone, a color difference between the outside bone and the newly exposed bone, and the pattern (e.g., only at joints) or type (e.g., carnivore chewing) of the damage.

It is clear from the above description that "dead men do tell tales."


FORDISC is an interactive computer program for the classification of unknown adult crania according to race and sex, using any combination of standard cranial measurements.

The Forensic Anthropologist aligns the bones according to their location on the body, and makes specific measurements. These measurements are especially important on the skull.

Specific measurements on the skull are then input to a databank. The FORDISC databank then searches the measurements, and finds the closest match to these in the database. Based on these measurements the anthropologist can make an educated conclusion as to the sex and race of the victim. Amazing!

The Data Bank currently contains skeletal data on nearly 1400 individuals that have resulted in the development of new ancestry and sex discriminate functions. From the Data Bank, FORDISC 2.0 (a computer program) was developed which generates custom ancestry and sex discriminate functions. It also has developed new stature formulae allowing us the ability to tailor discriminate functions to special requests (i.e. sex or ancestry discriminate function for the calcaneus, tibia and scapula, which could be targeted to a specific population).


In very early NYC the Police Justices were part of the police department. The �Police Department� included the Mayor, who acted as Chief of Police and a justice of the court. The City Aldermen sat in as Justices in the Court as well, and were overseers of the actual �Watch�.
Each day the night watch would send a watchman down to court in the morning to inquire how many men should be held on overtime for details, court assignments, guarding of the prisoners, etc. as the justices would desire.

There was very little separation of the Executive, Judicial and Legislative Branches of the government back then. Yes, they did pay overtime back then! Documents recorded as early as 1783 attest to this.

The NYC Watch has been documented as early as November 25, 1783, the day the British surrendered the city to George Washington.


The real-life Spiderman - Omar Waftali Triplett - was sentenced to 25 years to life for a murder he committed on December 26, 1999 in Lincoln Terrace Park. This 77 Squad Homicide, originally investigated by Andy Banahan and later aided by Bobby Rivera and Richie Sullivan, involved the same person who had been earlier dubbed "Spiderman" for the way he escaped from a Manhattan robbery.

Bobby Rivera and Richie Sullivan went up to Buffalo to interview this VERY strange character. It was their excellent interviewing skills that put this case together, not only for the 77 Squad's homicide but for the Manhattan robberies as well. Both these detectives, and Richie Lapera who accompanied them as the Detective Supervisor, should be quite proud of their efforts in this case. If I may speak for others in the boro, we are all proud of you!

Sunday, May 12, 2002


A previously noted web site, "Crime Library", found at, has some interesting true crime stories. Among those is the story of the Son of Sam: David Berkowitz.

The origin of the "Son of Sam" name is noted as follows.

Captain Joseph Borrelli of the New York City Police Department was one of the key members of the Omega Group. Operation Omega was the task force headed by Deputy Inspector Timothy Dowd to find the psycho who was killing women in various parts of the city with a .44 caliber handgun.

The ".44 Caliber Killer" was getting a great deal of press and Borrelli's name had appeared frequently. Now on April 17, 1977, he was looking at a letter addressed to him that had been left at the scene of the latest in this series of murders: With misspellings, it read:

Dear Captain Joseph Borrelli,I am deeply hurt by your calling me a wemon hater. I am not. But I am a monster. I am the 'Son of Sam.' I am a little brat.When father Sam gets drunk he gets mean. He beats his family. Sometimes he ties me up to the back of the house. Other times he locks me in the garage. Sam loves to drink blood.'Go out and kill,' commands father Sam.'Behind our house some rest. Mostly young -- raped and slaughtered -- their blood drained -- just bones now.Papa Sam keeps me locked in the attic too. I can't get out but I look out the attic window and watch the world go by.I feel like an outsider. I am on a different wavelength then everybody else -- programmed too kill.However, to stop me you must kill me. Attention all police: Shoot me first -- shoot to kill or else keep out of my way or you will die!Papa Sam is old now. He needs some blood to preserve his youth. He has had too many heart attacks. 'Ugh, me hoot, it hurts, sonny boy.'I miss my pretty princess most of all. She's resting in our ladies house. But I'll see her soon.I am the 'Monster' -- 'Beelzebub' -- the chubby behemouth.I love to hunt. Prowling the streets looking for fair game -- tasty meat. The wemon of Queens are prettyist of all. It must be the water they drink. I live for the hunt -- my life. Blood for papa.Mr. Borrelli, sir, I don't want to kill anymore. No sur, no more but I must, 'honour thy father.'I want to make love to the world. I love people. I don't belong on earth. Return me to yahoos.To the people of Queens, I love you. And I want to wish all of you a happy Easter. MayGod bless you in this life and in the next.

The two page letter ended "Yours in murder, Mister Monster".

The letter did not have any useful fingerprints and the envelope had been handled by so many people that if there were any of the murderer's prints, they were lost. This letter was leaked to the press in early June and the world finally heard the name, "Son of Sam."


What is money laundering?

The goal of a large number of criminal acts is to generate a profit for the individual or group that carries out the act. Money laundering is the processing of these criminal proceeds to disguise their illegal origin.

This process is of critical importance, as it enables the criminal to enjoy these profits without jeopardising their source. Illegal arms sales, smuggling, and the activities of organised crime, including for example drug trafficking and prostitution rings, can generate huge sums. Embezzlement, insider trading, bribery and computer fraud schemes can also produce large profits and create the incentive to �legitimise� the ill-gotten gains through money laundering.

When a criminal activity generates substantial profits, the individual or group involved must find a way to control the funds without attracting attention to the underlying activity or the persons involved. Criminals do this by disguising the sources, changing the form, or moving the funds to a place where they are less likely to attract attention.

In response to mounting concern over money laundering, the Financial Action Task Force on money laundering (FATF) was established by the G-7 Summit in Paris in 1989 to develop a co-ordinated international response. One of the first tasks of the FATF was to develop Recommendations, 40 in all, which set out the measures national governments should take to implement effective anti-money laundering programmes.

Members of the FATF include 29 countries and jurisdictions � including the major financial centre countries of Europe, North and South America, and Asia � as well as the European Commission and the Gulf Co-operation Council.

The FATF works closely with other international bodies involved in combating money laundering. While its secretariat is housed by the OECD, the FATF is not part of the Organisation. However, where the efforts of the OECD and FATF complement each other, such as on bribery and corruption or the functioning of the international financial system, the two secretariats consult with each other and exchange information.


This past week I had the honor to stand before an assembled group of detectives and associates, and take part in honoring the retirement of some very special people.

The Retirement Donner honoring Detecrtives Pete Sloan, Frankie Delouisa, Al Nesbot, Danny Carmosin, and Terry Murnane, all of Brooklyn North Homicide, was a time of happiness, and sadness all at once.

I had the honor to stand before this assembled group as the newly appointed Commanding Officer of Brooklyn North Homicide, as Joe Heffernan retired this past week as well. Joe, a true friend as well as a trusted colleague, leaves some very large shoes behind that I can only hope to fit into, let alone fill.

As I noted at the dinner, the experience this department has lost with these retirees cannot be easily filled. The reassurance felt by seeing one of them walk through the door to help out on "a fresh one" cannot adequately be expressed.

I can recall turning to Terry Murnane one cold winter morning, with a body sticking out of a suitcase found on the street, wondering where we'd go from here, but knowing with Terry there things would fall into place. Or seeing Pete Sloan walk in the door, crack a huge smile, and say "Don't worry Boss, we'll take care of it", and knowing full well that he would.

Not every case gets solved; there aren't always happy endings. But working with any of these detectives meant the chances were pretty good they would.

Thanks so much for all you have given; we can never say enough to truly express what you are each owed. Some received rings, some solid-gold shields, or gold cuff links. Mere trinkets to reward over 100 years of combined experience.

"Don't worry, we'll take care of it".

And you did! Thank you so much, and enjoy the retirement you so rightly deserve. God bless you all.


Investigative Links

Criminal Justice Research


You can e-mail me at:

I encourage stories, suggestions, and comments on this site and look forward to hearing from you.

Wednesday, May 08, 2002


An October 1961 issue of SPRING 3100 reports on the recent change in the department�s policy regarding MOS on sick report.

According to the story, the first seven months of 1961 compared to that of 1960 showed a significant reduction in time lost due to sick report. Commissioner Michael Murphy then announced that, effective September 1, 1961, the procedure for deducting half-pay for the first three days of sick report would be discontinued, on an experimental basis.

Also effective that same September 5 was a 40 hour work week, replacing the 42 hour schedule.

To prevent diminishing essential police services, the PC was also authorized by the Board of estimate to order members to perform overtime work in excess of forty hours per week, at straight time compensation.

Just a little look at some of the things we take for granted.


A very good, short but concise book titled �NYPD:AN ILLUSTRATED HISTORY� has been added to the ever-growing crime library of The minister. This book, while appearing to be a �childrens� book, is nothing of the sort. It is most certainly available at the NYC Police Museum, well worth the purchase by any member or former member of this department.

Did you know that the first �crime wave� was experienced in New Amsterdam in 1638?

The population, around 400 people, consisted of a small majority of Dutch, but included English, french, German and Irish as well. Most of them were male, and were working as household servants, soldiers, or trade apprentices.

Runaway servants from nearby English colonies �swelled the restless�, and were known to become restless, unruly and rebellious (an early form of mayhem). In 1638 a soldier named Gerrit Jansen was stabbed to death in front of Fort Amsterdam, becoming New York�s first murder victim. In response, the colony�s directors passed the earliest city ordinances against intoxication and harboring sailors, who were �prone to carousing on shore leave�. Crime nevertheless increased, and New amsterdam earned a reputation as one of the most boisterous towns in North America.

This was the period of the �rattle-watch�, named for the wooden instrument carried to alert colonists in the event of fire or other danger in the night. In 1658, this rattle-watch consisted of eight men.

It should be noted that Jan Lampo was the first full-time law officer appointed in New York, then lnown as New Amsterdam, in 1626.


Also noted in the October 1961 edition of SPRING3100 is the proposed new Police Headquarters on a two acre site at Madison and Pearl Streets in lower Manhattan, now known as 1 Police Plaza.

The plans for the new building are outlined, noting that the 15 story structure would cost an estimated $20,000,000.

At the time 240 Centre Street operated as the headquarters for the department. However, as this building had been outgrown by the department, it housed the Police Commissioner and some of his staff but many of the units of the department were far removed from Headquarters. The establishment of the building at 1PP was intended to centralize what were then scattered police commands. �The present headquarters at 240 Centre street has outlived its usefulness as the center of police administration�, it was noted.

The building at 240 Centre Street has since been completely refurbished into condominiums, with the ornate woodwork totally restored, and now demands a price range for residents that far exceeds being affordable to any member of this department.


The department officially changed the borough commands from Brooklyn East and Brooklyn West to Brooklyn North and Brooklyn south in February 1961. Brooklyn East became Brooklyn North, and the West became the South.

This same General Order also noted that �a homicide squad and a burglary squad are attached to each detective borough command�. These squads assigned to Brooklyn North worked out of the building at 148 Vernon Avenue. The Borough Command for Brooklyn North was located at 179 Wilson Avenue - the same location presently, but in a much different looking building!

What is especially interesting to note is the distinction given to Brooklyn North even back then.

Many of the routine procedures noted in the Rules & Procedures (there was no Patrol Guide then) differentiate Brooklyn North. �Except that in Patrol Borough Brooklyn North...� is a common phrase of many of these procedures. In Brooklyn North, the borough commander was being given approval rights for many requests, reports, etc. prior to going up the chain of command that in other places was resting with the Division commander.

Even then Brooklyn North was worthy of a distinction.


It was May 21, 1971, when NYPD police officers Waverly Jones and Joseph Piagentini were ambushed by Black Liberation Army (BLA) terrorists Anthony Bottom and Herman Bell as the officers answered a routine call to the Colonial Park Houses in Harlem.

According to reports at the time, police officer Waverly was "dead before he hit the sidewalk" from a fuselage of bullets to the back of his head. Officer Piagentini, also shot from behind, died on the way to the hospital with 22 bullet wounds in him. Officer Jones was 32 years of age. Officer Piagentini, only 27.

After assassinating these two police officers, Anthony Bottom fled to California where, along with other members of the BLA, tried to kill a San Francisco police sergeant. After a wild police chase, Anthony was arrested on August 27, 1971 and charged with attempted murder. However, he eventually was sent back to New York to stand trial for the murders of officers Jones and Piagentini.

On May 12, 1975, both Anthony Bottom and Herman Bell were sentenced to 25 years to life for the ambush killing of these two young police officers, the maximum allowed by New York State law at the time.

Officer Piagentini's widow, Diane, has received a letter from the New York State Division of Parole informing her and her daughter, Deborah, that her husband's killer, Anthony Bottom, is scheduled to appear before the Parole Board this coming July and is eligible for parole September 27, 2002.

Please write to Governor Pataki and the NYS Parole Board demanding that these cop-killers stay in prison for life. Also contact your state representatives asking them to write the parole board too.

The parole Board's address is:

ALBANY, NY 12206

Governor Pataki's address is:

Gov. George Pataki
The State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

This is an important issue to all police officers, past and present. PLEASE take the time to draft a note to these people!


Legal Experts: Has good articles on law and criminal justice:


I have on numerous occasions recommended the site of the John E. Reid and Associates to readers. Their Monthly Investigator Tips is a valuable reading item, and should be checked each month.

In addition, they provide a monthly �Legal Update�. While not always applicable to New York, and not intended to replace the absolute value of the Legal Bureau, it is nonetheless worth reviewing by an investigator to stay current with topics related to legal issues we deal with each day.

You can access this site at the: home page, or can do so at:

This month�s Legal Updates contain two items of particular interest. Please check them out.

Attorney Issues

People v. Hurd, 719 N.Y.S. 2d 752 (N.Y. App. 2001)

While being questioned about alleged sex offenses, the suspect initially said that he did not know if he needed an attorney, and then later, during questioning, placed a one-minute cellular call to his attorney's office, but did not indicate that he wanted an attorney in subsequent calls to his wife and father. Since the suspect did not unequivocally invoke his right to counsel, his statements were held to be admissible.

People v. Chapman, 2000 Ill, LEXIS 1719 (Ill. 2000)

A homicide suspect was arrested and given his Miranda rights, which he waived. During the course of questioning the investigating officer received a telephone call from a male claiming to be the suspect's attorney. The officer refused to talk to the man without any verification of who he was. By the time the attorney arrived in person at the police station, the suspect had confessed. The Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the suspect had already waived his right to counsel and that the police are not required to forward telephone messages from an attorney to their client. Accurate documentation of the time that the suspect waived his Miranda rights, the time of the phone call, the time of the confession and the time the attorney presented himself at the police station were important considerations in upholding this confession.

REMEMBER: These are provided for INFORMATION and BACKGROUND ONLY! It is NOT intended to provide legal counsel, nor are items noted to be construed as applicable in New York State. (You get the point, right?)!!

HOPE ALL ARE ENJOYING THE SPRING SEASON! Fishing poles and golf clubs should be getting prepared, and beach sand is sure to be felt in the near future.