NewsBriefs BUTTONS

New York Narcotics Cop Testifies That Corrupt Officer Thwarted Internal Affairs Investigation


May-June 1997

On April 7, an NYPD narcotics detective testified in Bronx Supreme Court that he had warned several high-ranking police officials that his life had been endangered by an organized crime detective who leaked confidential information to drug suspects. The narcotics detective who worked undercover testified that the Internal Affairs investigation into his allegations was frustrated because the detective accused of the leaks, John Wrynn, is the son of an Internal Affairs inspector James Wrynn (David Kocieniewski, "Detective Says That His Cover Was Blown by Corrupt Officer," New York Times, April 8, 1997, p. A20).

Testifying behind a screen to conceal his identity, the narcotics detective, who has been identified only by his badge number, UC4126, testified that the Internal Affairs Bureau prevented him from gathering evidence against Wrynn on several occasions. He said he grew so exasperated that he wrote a letter to New York Police Commissioner Howard Safir last year, asking him to investigate the matter, but that he "never heard back from him." Safir declined to comment because the allegations are still under investigation.

The narcotics detective's testimony was part of the prosecution of Thomas Tocco for selling cocaine to the narcotics detective on two separate occasions in 1993. During his infiltration beginning in May 1993, the narcotics detective heard Tocco and his friends brag that officer John Wrynn was leaking information to them about undercover drug and gun investigations. The narcotics detective said he even heard one of the drug suspects repeat a verbatim account of one of his own reports. He said he offered to Internal Affairs to gather information about the suspects' dealings with Wrynn. He was invited by the drug suspects to meet with Wrynn at least three times, but an Internal Affairs sergeant monitoring the narcotics detective's conversations forbade him to do so and threatened to suspend him if he attended such a meeting.

The narcotics detective testified that an Internal Affairs lieutenant complained that James Wrynn, the father, was once seen looking through the Internal Affairs investigative file on the charges against his son. When the narcotics detective complained to the Internal Affairs sergeant supervising Wrynn's case, the sergeant shrugged. "He told me, 'Don't take it out on me. I'm between a rock and a hard place.'"

Once the narcotics detective realized that his cover was blown by Wrynn, he began searching for an investigative body to probe the allegations. He met five times with Walter Mack, then the deputy commissioner of Internal Affairs, but Mack was dismissed before he could complete an inquiry into the charges. The detective said he also filed a complaint with the city's Department of Investigation, but never received a response.

A federal grand jury is hearing evidence against Wrynn, who according to the FBI, once had "given a heads-up to guys in the neighborhood" about police investigations, according to Police Department documents. John Wrynn remains on the force, and his father is still with Internal Affairs.