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Former Nassau County police official guilty of misconduct

Long Island news from Eyewitness News
February 16, 2013 9:00:29 AM PST
A former deputy Nassau County police commissioner accused of pulling strings for a wealthy benefactor was convicted Friday of lesser misconduct charges.

William Flanagan was found guilty of misdemeanor counts of official misconduct just moments before a judge was set to declare a mistrial, Newsday reported (http://bit.ly/Wx0k7f ). Flanagan was acquitted of a more serious misconduct charge that could have sent him to prison for four years. He now faces up to a year behind bars when he is sentenced May 1.

His lawyer told Newsday that he would be appealing.

"The jury took care of the felony; the appellate courts are going to take care of the misdemeanor," said Flanagan's lawyer, Bruce Barket. "He did nothing wrong."

Prosecutors argued that Flanagan and two other police officials pulled strings to drop an investigation into the theft of about $10,000 in electronics from John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore on Long Island because the suspected thief was the son of a businessman who had wined and dined police brass and made generous donations to a charity that is building a new police academy.

Police never charged the teen, Zachary Parker, but he was later indicted by a grand jury after the district attorney's office took over the investigation. Parker later pleaded guilty and is serving up to three years in prison.

Prosecutors contend Flanagan, 55, and the others took the extraordinary steps as a favor to Parker's father, Gary, a partner in a Manhattan accounting firm. The elder Parker, a longtime supporter of police causes, has not been charged with any crime.

Flanagan, who was a Nassau officer for nearly 30 years, helped broker the return of the electronics, prosecutors said, and afterward he received a thank-you card from the Parkers that included several hundred dollars of gift cards to a steakhouse.

Flanagan's attorney argued that his client was merely trying to help arrange the return of the stolen property to the school.

Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said justice was done despite the verdict, according to Newsday.

"This case has always been about making sure that there isn't one set of rules for the wealthy and connected, and another set for everyone else," Rice said.

The two other former police officials, retired Deputy Chief of Patrol John Hunter and retired Seventh Precinct Squad Deputy Supervisor Alan Sharpe, are awaiting trial.

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