FEDS TO PROBE COPS' GUN UNIT?
THE FBI might soon become involved with a long-running investigation into the Police Department's Firearms Identification Unit (FIU). Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said he sent a letter to the FBI earlier this month to see if a federal criminal probe needs to be launched over the alleged actions of Officer Anthony Magsam.
THE FBI might soon become involved with a long-running investigation into the Police Department's Firearms Identification Unit (FIU).
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said he sent a letter to the FBI earlier this month to see if a federal criminal probe needs to be launched over the alleged actions of Officer Anthony Magsam.
The Daily News reported last month that numerous police sources said Magsam had allegedly stolen parts from two automatic weapons when he worked in the FIU in 2009.
The alleged theft, discovered by other officers in the unit, was covered up by Magsam's bosses, who transferred him to Northeast Philly's 15th District, said the sources, who had direct knowledge of the incident.
Magsam's mother, longtime police sergeant Barbara Feeney, is married to retired Chief Inspector Michael Feeney.
Ramsey last month reassigned Magsam and Lt. Vincent Testa, the FIU commander at the center of the alleged cover-up.
He also replaced the Internal Affairs investigator who had spent the better part of the last year looking into the allegations.
Now, the commissioner is waiting to hear back from the feds.
"I asked that they take a look at [Magsam] and whether criminal charges need to be filed," he said. "If the FBI does take it over, they'll start from scratch with an investigation."
An FBI official confirmed that the bureau had received Ramsey's request. A decision has apparently not been made.
In the meantime, the Police Department is chewing over the results of an audit performed by firearms experts from the U.S. Department of Justice on the FIU from Aug. 25 to Aug. 29.
Besides the headache involving Magsam, the Daily News reported that the unit had also lost track of a Tec-9 semiautomatic.
The People's Paper also learned the FIU had a cabinet labeled "FUBAR" - short for "F - - - - - Up Beyond All Recognition" - that contained property receipts for other weapons that couldn't be found.
Michael Garvey, director of the Forensic Science Bureau - the building at 8th and Poplar streets that houses the FIU - said the federal audit initially revealed that 45 guns weren't accounted for.
Since then, he said, many were found either in the FIU or at the City Hall evidence room. The list of missing weapons has been whittled down to eight - the Tec-9, and seven handguns.
"We're looking through a list of guns that were turned over [from City Hall] and melted down," he said. "The list is not easily searchable, especially by serial number."
As a result of the audit, the FIU tracked down missing paperwork for 36 guns that were in the unit's custody.
The federal auditors suggested that police officials begin doing yearly and quarterly audits of the FIU to ensure that no more weapons are lost.
Garvey said the FIU would do the audits, and would also implement procedures to restrict the number of people who have access to weapons in the unit.