The NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau has launched an investigation into the vaunted Special Victims Division, seizing log books from three different offices, sources told The Daily Beast.
The targets of the probe are unclear, but it is being carried out by IAB Group One, the squad in charge of ferreting out the most serious criminal misconduct by cops, a senior law enforcement official said.
After the Daily Beast broke the news of the investigation, NYPD spokeswoman Devora Kaye said in a statement that it involves “allegations of isolated incidents of both the misuse of time and a department vehicle” within the division.
“The internal review does not pertain to the Special Victims Division’s day-to-day investigative work or any particular sex crime cases it is investigating,” she said.
The statement did not indicate when the probe began but two sources familiar with the situation said the seizure of the log books—which catalog and comings and goings of every officer in a command—would have signaled it was nearing a conclusion.
The log books date from January 2018 to the present. The offices IAB targeted included the headquarters of the Special Victims Division, the Manhattan Special Victims Squad, and the DNA cold case squad in the Bronx, where the investigation of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was centered.
“This investigation has nothing to do with the Weinstein case,” one senior police official told The Daily Beast.
Last year, the Special Victims Division—the model for the “Law & Order: SVU” television franchise—was the subject of a scathing watchdog report by the city’s Department of Investigation, which found that the division was woefully understaffed and that some detectives were not properly trained.
The NYPD launched an overhaul, transferring more detectives to the division, requiring that all felony sex crimes cases go to the division, and renovating facilities. Deputy Chief Judith Harrison, a 21-year veteran, was tapped to run the division, and said she was introducing a “victim-centered” approach.
But the IAB probe would be another black eye for the division, which has come under fire for its handling of the Weinstein investigation.
Last year, prosecutors dropped one of the charges against the producer after revealing that one of the lead investigator, Detective Nicholas DiGaudio, did not flag contradictions in an accuser’s account.
The Manhattan district attorney’s office claimed that DiGaudio told her to keep quiet about the inconsistency, which he denied. A different accuser told prosecutors that DiGaudio told her to delete anything on her phone she didn’t want the DA to see before she turned it over—giving Weinstein’s lawyers ammunition to cry police misconduct. DiGaudio is no longer on the case.