November 20, 2018

Police officer dismissed after presenting and using false identification for self-identification


Police officer dismissed after presenting and using false identification for self-identification
Ildefonso v Bratton, 238 A.D.2d 142

One of the disciplinary charges filed against New York City police officer Gilberto Ildefonso alleged that he had brought a dog -- the precinct "mascot" -- to the ASPCA, presumably to be put to sleep. Ildefonso was accused of giving the ASPCA a false name, a false badge number and a false precinct. He also was charged with lying about the origin of the dog in documents he gave to the ASPCA concerning the animal.

Why did Ildefonso use false identification and misstate the facts? According to the Appellate Division, he did so in order "to avoid a potential unpleasantness concerning the fellow officer who owned and cared for this precinct mascot."

Found guilty, the Commissioner of Police dismissed Ildefonso from the force. The Appellate Division upheld the termination.

What was the Appellate Division's rationale in upholding the penalty imposed?
The Court said that "even if one were favorably disposed toward [Ildefonso] in connection with the other charges, the critical fact remains that [Ildefonso] lied with respect to matters of self-identification particularly important to police work and integrity."

The Appellate Division said courts give "great leeway" to the Commissioner's determination in disciplinary matters. It said that the Commissioner's decision was entitled to such great leeway in matters of police discipline and punishment because the Commissioner, and not the courts, is accountable to the public for the integrity of the Department."


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