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Exclusive: Cop in ticket-fixing probe speaks out

February 9, 2012 8:00:13 PM PST
The veteran NYPD cop at the center of that massive ticket fixing probe is speaking out, in his first and only interview.

Jose Ramos is being held at Rikers, unable to post a $500,000 cash bail.

Who is Jose Ramos?

If you believe prosecutors and his own union president, he's a drug dealing rogue cop who sold his shield and violated his oath.

But his family and friends paint a dramatically different picture, of a devoted father who has spent his life being a role model for inner city kids.

"I'm made out to be this monster, I'm doing all these crimes and it's just not true," Ramos said.

48-year-old Jose Ramos knew it was coming; the impending arrest of 16 cops in the NYPD ticket fixing scandal was the worst kept secret ever, but Ramos, charged with additional felony crimes linked to drug dealing, is the only cop still in jail, unable to post his staggering $500,000 cash bail.

"You would think I killed someone," Ramos said.

"Does it bother you that they've characterized you as this dirty, corrupt drug dealing cop?" Eyewitness News Investigative Reporter Sarah Wallace asked.

"Most definitely," Ramos said.

"Are you a dirty cop?" Wallace asked.

"No," Ramos responded.

The Bronx DA allowed 15 officers to turn themselves in, but not Ramos.

Fellow cops arrested the 18-year veteran of the force, army veteran, and devoted father, at his stepdaughter's school at gunpoint.

"It's not necessary, especially since I attempted to surrender. There were a lot of things involved. A lot of media hype," Ramos said.

The Investigation had begun three years before, when Ramos, a union delegate, was allegedly caught on a wiretap talking about fixing tickets.

"I didn't feel it was a crime and neither did any of the other officers who were indicted. It's just ironic the Bronx went after this," Ramos said.

Outside the court on that October day, Ramos' union members agreed, but then President Pat Lynch publicly threw Ramos under the bus.

"We are not here to defend a drug dealer," Lynch said in October.

"I guess his argument is, 'Hey I don't want to be associated with a bad guy,'" Wallace said.

"Well, I don't remember being guilty. I thinking you have to prove me guilty first," Ramos said.

Prosecutors say they have Ramos on tape allowing drugs to be sold out of his family-owned barbershop in the Bronx, and that the 40th precinct cop even moved a stash of what he believed to be heroin in a patrol car.

"Did you deal drugs?" Wallace asked.

"No," Ramos answered.

"Did you rob drug dealers?" Wallace asked.

"No," Ramos said.

"Did you move what you thought was heroin in a patrol car?" Wallace asked.

"No," Ramos responded.

"So they just made this up?" Wallace asked.

"No, I think what they did was, I spoke, I said things I shouldn't have said, and they twisted it the way they wanted to twist it," Ramos said, "I've never sold, used, carried anything with drugs, anything like that."

"So none of this is true?" Wallace questioned.

"None of these things," Ramos said.

In fact, he claims he's spent much of his life getting kids off the streets, away from drugs, and into sports through a non-profit.

His two grown children often volunteered with him.

"When I see a lot of headlines about him, they couldn't be further from the truth," said Jose Ramos, Jr., the officer's son.

"You might as well put me in the cell right with him because, it's like, I'd rather be there to be honest. I'd rather be anywhere my father is," said Nicole Ramos, the officer's daughter.

"She said if she had a choice, she'd be in here with you," Wallace said.

The father's face, not the cop's, crumbled at the thought of his daughter.

"Well, I wouldn't allow that," Ramos said.

After he composed himself, Wallace did ask if he has any regrets.

"I regret I put myself in the position. I regret affiliating with the people I did. I regret saying the things I said. I wish I could take that all back, but I can't so now I'm prepared to defend myself," Ramos said.

Ramos would not be more specific about his regrets because of the ongoing criminal case.

Friday, his attorney plans to file a new bail package, arguing $500,000 cash is the equivalent of "no bail."

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If you have a tip about this or any other issue you'd like investigated, please give our tipline a call at 877-TIP-NEWS. You may also e-mail us at the.investigators@abc.com.

Follow Jim Hoffer on Twitter at twitter.com/nycinvestigates and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/jimhoffer.wabc

Follow Sarah Wallace on Twitter at twitter.com/swinvestigates and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sarahwallace.wabc

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