Cops face internal charges
"Tainted Justice" cops could get fired.
ALTHOUGH NO criminal charges have been filed against a group of Philadelphia narcotics officers tied to multiple allegations of theft and serious misconduct, five face internal charges that could result in discipline or termination.
Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said the officers were notified yesterday that the Internal Affairs Bureau sustained numerous allegations against them:
JEFFREY CUJDIK: Three counts of conduct unbecoming of an officer.
"First, for attempting to deceive regarding material facts during an investigation," Ramsey said. "There were several instances when his statements were not consistent - basically not telling the truth."
Cujdik is also charged with failure to maintain professional objectivity for renting a home to his longtime confidential informant, Ventura "Benny" Martinez.
Martinez also told the Daily News that Cujdik sometimes fabricated evidence so that police could obtain warrants to enter suspected drug homes.
Internal Affairs found that Cujdik knowingly made "false entries into a departmental record or report," and failed to comply with police rules and directives, Ramsey said.
The investigation found that Cujdik gave gifts, money, cigarettes and cellphones to informants, he said.
THOMAS TOLSTOY: One count of conduct unbecoming of an officer and neglect of duty for not telling the truth about giving gifts, including cellphones, cigarettes and cash, to informants.
In 2009, the Daily News uncovered allegations that Tolstoy groped and fondled the breasts of three women, who did not know one another, during drug raids. One of the women told the Daily News that Tolstoy jammed his fingers so forcefully into her vagina that she began to bleed. She said that when she tried to pull away, he grabbed her hard enough to rip her shirt.
The woman immediately walked to the hospital, where a rape kit was ordered. Internal Affairs took Tolstoy off the street that night, even though the woman didn't know his name. She said she received so many threatening phone calls - warning her not to talk - that she constantly changed her number. She said she was too scared to press criminal charges.
A federal grand jury did hear this case, but decided not to prosecute.
Dagma Rodriguez and Lady Gonzalez independently told the Daily News that Tolstoy lifted their shirts and fondled their breasts in two separate raids. Police Internal Affairs did not refer their cases to the District Attorney's Office until this week after First District Attorney Ed McCann said Friday that the office wants to review them.
Ramsey said yesterday that he will send the third case that went before the grand jury to the D.A.'s office by the end of the week.
RICHARD CUJDIK: Neglect of duty for searching a van without a warrant. The illegal search is captured on a video obtained by the Daily News.
When narcotics officers raided Jose Duran's West Oak Lane bodega, Duran had a backup video that shows officers slicing wires to his cameras before they allegedly stole nearly $10,000 in cash. Richard Cujdik is seen searching the van during the raid.
ROBERT McDONNELL JR.: One count of conduct unbecoming of an officer for putting the wrong informant as the source for a search-warrant application.
JOSEPH BOLOGNA: Neglect of duty and failure to supervise. As a sergeant during the September 2007 raid of Duran's store, he was the supervisor and was present when Richard Cujdik searched Duran's van without a warrant.
Bologna has been promoted twice and is now captain of the 19th District.
Except Bologna, these four officers have been on desk duty since 2009. Ramsey said they have 10 business days to acknowledge receipt of the findings against them.
Ramsey said he can have the Police Board of Inquiry hear the charges or he can take direct action himself.
"I'll probably go with direct action," he said.
John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 5, who hadn't seen the findings, said last night: "These are everyday charges. It's not like the whole sky is falling."
McNesby has insisted all along that the officers are innocent of any wrongdoing.
"This is no big deal," he said. "They'll be handed some discipline and we'll probably win in arbitration. . . . I don't see anyone losing their jobs."