New York Daily News – by JOHN MARZULLI
An NYPD lieutenant shamed a detective in front of the entire squad, branding him a “rat” for reporting misconduct to the Internal Affairs Bureau, two of his former colleagues confirmed.
The two detectives detailed the humiliation in sworn statements filed in connection with former Detective James Griffin’s federal lawsuit, which contends he retired after being publicly disgraced by his supervisor. Griffin had previously been threatened by fellow detectives, ostracized, and found the word “rat” scrawled on his locker and a hole punched through his desk.
Griffin had refused to take the fall for a Brooklyn detective who bungled a homicide investigation by failing to interview the victim before he died.
Griffin was transferred from the 83rd Precinct in Bushwick to a Queens stationhouse to start fresh, but Lt. Michael Miltenberg apparently wasn’t going to let the detective escape the harassment.
Griffin claims that he found ‘rat’ scrawled on his possessions.
“I remember several occasions when . . . Miltenberg . . . referred to Mr. Griffin as a rat,” Detective Michael Carrano of the Queens cold case squad stated. “This occurred in front of other detectives at the 105th Precinct.”
During a staff meeting, Miltenberg stared directly at Griffin and said, “There’s a rat among us,” Detective Gerard Wineberger testified under oath at a deposition earlier this year.
The next day, Wineberger bravely confronted his twisted boss. “I said, ‘Lieutenant, why are you calling him a rat? Does that have to do with the incident in Brooklyn?’ And he said, ‘No, it has to do with he’s a rat. He went to IAB again,’ ” Wineberger said.
Detective Anthony Cardinale, a union official, brazenly claimed in his deposition that Griffin really was a rat because he went to the IAB with the alleged misconduct instead of the union.
The former detective says he was given the ‘rat’ label when he refused to take the fall for a bungled homicide investigation.
“We don’t handle things like that,” Cardinale said. “That’s what the union’s there for. We mediate and we get in between, and we try to handle it amongst us.”
Griffin, a detective first grade, had been ordered by a colleague to accept the blame and whatever discipline resulted for the botched homicide investigation instead of the gumshoe who had failed to interview the victim. Griffin was warned that if he did not fabricate a story, his colleague would blame him anyway, which prompted him to contact IAB.
Miltenberg, who has since retired, admitted using the R-word in front of the entire squad, but claims it was directed at another detective.
Griffin’s lawyer Alexander Coleman said in court papers that Miltenberg’s explanation, including his claim that it was the only time in his career he uttered the word “rat,” is ridiculous and absurd.
“Being labeled a rat is probably the worst fate that could befall a police officer . . . or detective,” Coleman wrote in papers filed in Brooklyn Federal Court in 2010.
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