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Are Criminal Cops Being Put Back On Duty In Yonkers?

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Yonkers Officer Neil Vera and Det. Christian KockIn the midst of Department Of Justice recently announcing their ongoing investigation into police criminality complaints in Westchester County, sources within Yonkers City Government have alleged that two YPD officers indicted on charges of falsifying search warrants affidavits are about to be placed back on active duty with full pay.

Yonkers Police Detective Christian Koch a 13-year veteran of the department and officer Neil Vera a 7-year veteran, said to be two highly decorated police officers in Yonkers became criminal defendants Wednesday, October 8th after being indicted by a grand jury for an alleged shortcut to justice. Detective Christian Koch and Officer Neil Vera pleaded not guilty in the Westchester County courtroom to charges that they falsifying search warrants affidavits in a drug investigation.

Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore announced that an indictment was unsealed against Neil Vera (DOB 04/13/80) of 104 South Broadway, Yonkers, New York charging him with:

one count of Perjury in the Second Degree, a class “E” Felony,
one count of Falsifying Business Records, a class “A” Misdemeanor,
one count of Making a Punishable False Written Statement, a class “A” Misdemeanor,
three counts of Official Misconduct, class “A” Misdemeanors,
one count of Conspiracy in the Sixth Degree, a class “B” Misdemeanor.

An indictment was also unsealed today against Christian Koch (DOB 06/27/75) of 104 South Broadway, Yonkers, New York charging him with:
one count of Perjury in the Second Degree, a class “E” Felony,
one count of Official Misconduct, a class “A” Misdemeanor.

On March 21, Koch swore to an affidavit supporting a search warrant at 141 School St. The two Yonkers police officers were later suspended without pay and faced disciplinary action after being charged with falsifying a search warrant for Dario Tena, who fell to his death during a police raid at his third-floor apartment.

Bonita Zelman the attorney representing Dario Tena’s family told BW, that The Assistant Medical Examiner after waiting six months before ruling on a cause of death originally said evidence didn’t support officers claims of suicide, but after consulting with his boss ruled it as a suicide and only to change it to undetermined six days after the officers were indicted.

“Making false statements when you’re getting a search warrant has serious consequences; the bottom line is you’re sandbagging the prosecutor, who doesn’t always check on the veracity of what leads to the warrant,” Bennett Gershman, a Pace University law professor said. “It throws a dark shadow over the integrity of the process if cops are going to lie to make their case.”

The Journal News reported in August, Detective Christian Koch and another officer involved in the search warrant, Neil Vera, were under investigation by the Internal Affairs Division and the Westchester District Attorney’s Public Integrity Bureau. Several cases one or both were involved in are under review and prosecutors have dismissed charges against at least six defendants, including three who were facing serious felony drug charges.

“This matter involves but a single incident concerning two members of the department, and should not detract from the outstanding job that the men and women of this department do every day to protect the public,” Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner said in a statement. “Nonetheless, even a single incident is one too many, and these two officers must now face both criminal charges and department discipline in relation to this incident.”

They face a maximum of four years in prison. Assistant District Attorney Berit Huseby and Assistant District Attorney Brian Fitzgerald of the Public Integrity Bureau are prosecuting the case.

We reached out to Police Commissioner Charles Garder’s officer and were referred to Detective Lt. Patrick McCormack, a department spokesman, who would not confirm or deny the allegations that the two indicted officers were being placed back on active duty. Stating he could not answer questions in an ongoing investigation.

In a statement after the defendants were arraigned, District Attorney Janet DiFiore said: “There is nothing more important than law enforcement acting with honesty and integrity. We place enormous trust in the work of police and when that trust is violated we will not hesitate to hold the individuals accountable.

“Quite frankly we were surprised that the grand jury decided to indict,” said Andrew Quinn, the lawyer for the Yonkers PBA who is representing Vera, a union trustee, outside the Westchester County Courthouse in White Plains.

Quinn wasn’t the only one surprised by the indictment, because the DA’s office under Janet DiFiore has a history of failing to bring charges against officers in the several acts of police misconduct and criminality in Westchester County. One has to ask is this a saving face move by the DA since the Dept of Justice announced they are investigation act of police misconduct in Westchester.

“It has nothing to do with the DOJ investigation, but DA DiFiore cover herself since she aggressively prosecuted the cases the two officers lied to obtain warrants,” states Blacks In Law Enforcement In America president Damon K. Jones. “It has nothing to do with justice, she is throwing the officers under the bus to protect her office.”

This case is further proof that the DOJ needs to do a thorough investigation of not only the police departments in Westchester County but also into the DA’s office as well.

At the end of her press release DA DiFiore stated, in compliance with Disciplinary Rule 7-107A of the Code of Professional Responsibility, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

AJ Woodson

AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show. AJ is a Father, Brother, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Hip-Hop Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale,,, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.

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1 comment

Carmen Ortiz December 18, 2014 at 6:26 PM

Yonkers needs your real March!!! NOT one organized with the Mayors office!

Wayne Simoes acquitted a then promoted after a slamming of a Blacktina on her face, all on video!

A man tries to escape by jumping out of a 3 third floor window, HUH! These two Police officers above are the only ones charged for lying to obtain a warrant, how about looking into the story a little better!

Travis Tallone was a Hip Hop white kid mauled and killed buy a wolfpack of Cops. They said heart attack, check out the M.E.’s report!

Officers Pataky and Delladona beat the crap out of Black and Latino kids in So. Yonkers. Look into the money this City paid up for misconduct of these to abusive cops. One even threatened a reporter!

The Mayor is and will put these two men above back on the streets! The Yonkers Mayor was saying something about taking back the streets two stores down from were Irma Marquez was slammed!

This Mayor is very supportive of the abusive police dept! this is the Mayor that organized In a 2013 election the harassment of minorities at the polls asking us for I.D.’s a fight that is currently going on at the federal level opposed by us because it stifles the minority vote. Check into that, it was during the Astorino and Branson race. Cops had minorities pulled over all throughout So. Yonkers!

We can’t breathe!!!

Maybe Minority federal investigators will get the job done?


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