Investigators: Hempstead police chief, 3 others part of ticket fixing scandal

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Investigators say the police chief of the Hempstead Police Department is among four people who were arrested as part of a ticket fixing scandal.

News 12 has been told Hempstead Police Department Chief Paul Johnson, Sgt. Joseph Savino, former Village Trustee Perry Pettus and restaurant owner William Mendez were arrested this morning by the Nassau District Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors say Mendez asked Pettus to get rid of four parking tickets for a female friend who had been in a car accident. Pettus then allegedly called Johnson, who was a lieutenant at the time, and asked him to make the traffic tickets go away.

According to the indictment, Johnson agreed and was caught on wiretap telling Pettus, "Ya' know, if I can look out for you cause it's something minor like a parking ticket, a traffic ticket, that's one thing. But if you're talking about criminal offenses and weapons and drugs and something that's something different."

Johnson's attorney tells News 12 the indictment is outrageous. Johnson is also charged with criminal contempt and obstruction of governmental administration.

Johnson also allegedly intentionally ignored a subpoena that was issued in this case in late 2018, according to the indictment.

The arrests of Johnson and Savino bring the number of active officers in the Hempstead Police Department arrested and charged in the last 3 ½ years to six.

All four men, who were arraigned on the charges Wednesday, pleaded not guilty and were released without having to post bail. Charges against the men include tampering with public records, grand larceny and official misconduct.

Johnson's attorney says he will not resign as police chief.


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