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Old 02-14-2020, 09:33 AM
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Default Negress Ex-cop watchdog to pay $5K fine for having NYPD brass fix ticket


Ex-cop watchdog to pay $5K fine for having NYPD brass fix ticket
By Nolan Hicks
February 13, 2020 | 1:39pm | Updated

Vanessa Gibson
Taidgh Barron

Who watches the watchmen?

The City Council’s former top police watchdog, Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, agreed to pay a $5,000 fine Thursday for getting a local police precinct’s commander to get her out of a traffic ticket.

“I acknowledge that, by seeking the intervention of an NYPD Deputy Chief with respect to a traffic summons, which intervention resulted in me not receiving a summons, I used my City position to benefit myself,” the Bronx politician admitted in a settlement with the Conflicts of Interest Board.

Gibbon made the ultimately pricey call in March 2014 when a cop from the 44th Precinct, Officer Michele Hernandez, pulled her over on a charge of using her cell phone while behind the wheel.

The Bronx Democrat, who chaired the committee tasked with NYPD oversight at the time, denied she was on the phone — and then called the precinct’s top cop, Kevin Catalina.

“I told the [Catalina] that I had not been using my cell phone while driving; I did not explicitly ask the [Catalina] to intervene on my behalf or interfere with the issuance of a traffic summons,” Gibson said in the statement.

But that’s exactly what followed.

Catalina called the precinct’s desk officer, who then contacted Hernandez and told her not to write the ticket, COIB determined.

Additionally, Gibson handed Hernandez her cellphone with Catalina still on the line — and he told Hernandez that the Bronx Democrat chaired the public safety committee and should only be admonished, not ticketed.

Hernandez sued the city for $35 million in 2016, alleging police brass made her rip up Gibson’s ticket.

Additionally, she claimed Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark and her staff launched a probe to harass her as a favor to Gibson, in retaliation for the traffic stop.

Hernandez’s federal suit was dismissed in September 2018 through a procedural move after she asked her lawyer not to continue the case, the attorney, Eric Sanders told The Post on Thursday.

“The lawsuit was dismissed and she decided not to follow through because look at what happened to her,” Sanders said.

“She was right all along,” he added. “She’s got a very bitter taste in her mouth about how she was treated.

The Bronx DA’s office denied the claims at the time, but did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Catalina was promoted to head of the NYPD’s citywide gang division in April 2014, the month after Gibson escaped her ticket, according to payroll records and his online resume posted on LinkedIn.

He moved up the ladder again in March 2016, when he was tapped to oversee every NYPD precinct north of 59th Street in Manhattan.

Catalina took a job with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office in August 2018 and is now a top official there.

The NYPD declined to comment except to say that Catalina retired from the agency.

Gibson councilwoman did not return messages left with her office.
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