DA: Hempstead Village official took bribe to promote top cop
A Hempstead Village official who's already charged with corruption is now accused of taking a bribe to help a top cop get a promotion.
Deputy Police Chief Richard Holland, 47, and Village Trustee Perry Pettus, 62, face felony bribery charges and could face up to seven years in prison if convicted.
Pettus has been indicted
twice for alleged bribery and extortion. He's now accused of taking money in exchange for voting for the police promotion.
"This is the highest level of Hempstead government officials buying their offices," says Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.
Holland was a lieutenant with the village police department. Prosecutors say he met frequently with Pettus, asking to be promoted to chief.
According to the DA's office, the alleged bribe took place one morning in May in the back parking lot of the Spices Negril restaurant in Hempstead. Singas says there's surveillance video showing the exchange and that the bribe was at least $1,000.
Neither of the men nor their attorneys responded to News 12's inquiries.
"These are serious allegations and we are committed to ensuring that the residents do not lose faith in Village government and we will continue to work hard to maintain the residents’ trust," Hempstead Village's mayor said in a statement.
And the police department's assistant chief said: "We are taking this situation seriously and are fully cooperating with the Nassau County District Attorney's office as they further explore this matter."
Singas says the investigation is ongoing. She urges anyone with information to come forward and says investigators are looking further into how the village board voted to promote chiefs within the police department.
Pettus and Holland are due back in court next month.