Three New York Police officers have been arrested and indicted for federal corruption charges, which range from lifting sensitive information from car crash victims and siphoning run-down cars to a particular towing company.
The Gothamist reports that officers Heather Busch and Robert Hassett are both facing five counts of using interstate facilities to commit bribery and two counts of conspiracy to violate the Travel Act after purportedly taking part in the bribery plot.
Officer Robert Smith is facing the same charges, as well as charges of attempting to transport at least one kilogram of heroin, and possessing a firearm during the commission of that crime. Smith—who retired last March from an eastern Queens division—allegedly launched the scheme in 2016, and is said to be an “unabashedly racist” officer who tormented Black people and was sympathetic to the KKK.
In 2016, Smith and Hassett started using their standing as police officers to funnel damaged vehicles to the specific towing company for cash bribes that numbered in the thousands. According to prosecutors, the pair’s arrangement broadened in early 2020; now the officers began stealing information from car accident victims from the NYPD, and then handing that info to someone who peddled it to physical therapists and injury attorneys.
Before Smith’s departure, he tapped Busch to join their car towing plot. Smith allegedly opened his services to men who were thought to be drug dealers, which included delivering heroin. He was also openly racist.
“Bro I point my gun out the window now at n***ers and watch their reaction and drive away. Hilarious,” he allegedly texted. In a separate message, he allegedly wrote, “Now the real [S]mith will shine. I even shaved my head. Klan.”
According to The Daily Beast, Smith faces life in prison, with prosecutors wanting to hold him without bail. Prosecutors are also requesting large bonds for Busch and Hassett. The three are set to appear in Brooklyn Federal Court on Tuesday.