As the president-elect winged off to Indianapolis to take a bow for saving jobs, an NYPD precinct commander was in a Bronx courtroom on criminal charges of hoohah grabbing such as Donald Trump bragged about on the Access Hollywood hot mic tape.
Three months before his arrest, Deputy Inspector Keith Walton had taken a bow of his own, for leading the 49th Precinct in raising funds for a 7-year-old Bronx boy whose mother and father had died in a murder-suicide. The boy received a trip to Disney World as well as a $5,000 toward his future education.
“Not that I want to pat myself on the back or toot my own horn, but throughout New York City there isn’t a command that reaches out to its community like the 49th Precinct,” Walton told the press. “I think we set the bar, we set the example.”
Walton should have made sure not to follow Trump’s avowed example after the Access Hollywood tape surfaced in October. Social media as well as the news media were filled with wrenching accounts by women who had been devastated by such behavior, but Walton was apparently either deaf or indifferent to it.
Maybe he was at least subliminally encouraged by the legions of Trump supporters who appeared to be either deaf or indifferent to the multiple allegations of sexual assault against their candidate.
According to a sworn affidavit by Lt. Jack Ng of the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau, 44-year-old Walton ceased to become a worthy example for anybody and eclipsed his many good deeds on Nov. 6.
The incident is alleged to have taken place in the 49th Precinct stationhouse around 1:15 p.m. The complaining witness is a police officer under Walton’s command.
“Defendant instructed a witness known to the deponent to come to his office,” the affidavit states. “After defendant and said witness entered said office, defendant forcefully pulled the hair of said witness and attempted to kiss said witness on the mouth… Defendant grabbed said witness with his hands, turned said witness’s body around, and placed his hands on said witness’s vagina over her clothing.”
The affidavit continues, “Witness attempted to leave the aforementioned office. Defendant stated in sum and substance, WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU GOING? Defendant again grabbed said witness with his hands, turned said witness’s body around, and placed his hands on said witness’s vagina over her clothing.”
The affidavit goes on, “Defendant grabbed said witness’s hand and placed it on his erect penis over his clothing approximately two (2) times. The defendant stated, in sum and substance, I’M LEAVING SOON, DON’T FUCK WITH ME. REMEMBER. REMEMBER… Witness repeatedly attempted to push defendant’s hands off of her and stated, in sum and substance, STOP, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING, YOU NEED TO STOP, WHAT THE HELL.”
Trump was elected president two days later, despite having bragged about exactly this kind of behavior, minus only the hair pulling. Walton was arrested and stripped of his command afterward, on Nov. 18. He was arraigned in Bronx criminal court later that day on felony charges of sexual abuse along with misdemeanor charges of forcible touching, official misconduct, and harassment.
On Thursday morning, Walton was back in court for a hearing. He strode into courtroom LL220 in a dark gray pinstriped suit, white shirt, and silver tie. He sat with his lawyer in the spectator bench from the rear as a series of defendants such as he might have once arrested appeared before Judge Marc Whiten.
One defendant had previously entered into a plea agreement on a robbery charge with another judge and now appeared before Whiten for sentencing. Whiten took exception to the account of the crime the defendant had offered to the probation department.
“He pled guilty to robbery as a felony and his statement simply says he only struck the complainant once in the head,” Whiten said. “I don’t accept the statement under any circumstances. I don’t allow for trifling, joking, or playing around the edges. If you’re guilty of robbery, that’s what you’ve got to admit to. Get your story straight.”
Too bad Whiten was not a moderator at the presidential debates.
He rejected the deal on the robbery charge, but the defendant remained out on bail pending a new plea and stormed from the courtroom. A court officer called the next case.
“This is number 25 on the calendar, docket ending in 4440, Keith Walton.”
Walton rose and stepped with his lawyer up to the table where each of the previous defendants had stood. He faced the judge with his hands folded before him.
“Was there any grand jury action?” the judge asked.
“Yes, your honor,” the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Meaghan Powers, replied.
The judge set Dec. 14 as the date when Walton will be arraigned on the resulting indictment. He remained at liberty in the meantime and left the courthouse along with a handful of supporters from the 49th Precinct. They sang his praises as a great asset to the community, the kind of commander who would give you his personal cellphone number to call him if you had a problem.
“We don’t believe this,” said 60-year-old Grace Lovaglio. “This is a frame-up. Somebody wants him out.”
Walton’s attorney, Louis La Pietra, paused with him outside the courthouse and proclaimed his client innocent of the “outrageous” charges. The supporters held up signs with messages such as “KEITH WALTON TRAIL-BLAZER INNOVATOR—INNOCENT” and “AMERICA INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY” and “WALTON FOR NYPD COMMISSIONER.”
One supporter, Raphael Schweizer—who said he is a fan of the ultra-liberal news show Democracy Now—stood with a sign that would have fit right in at a Trump rally:
“SHAME ON THE NEWS MEDIA”
At least there were no hats reading “MAKE THE 49TH PRECINCT GREAT AGAIN.”
Out in Indianapolis, Trump was arriving at the Carrier plant to take a bow for saving 800 jobs. Walton is due back in Bronx court in two weeks on felony charges of doing what the president-elect once said you can do whenever you want if you are a star.