New York, NY – Just hours after a high ranking NYPD officer questioned by police in connection with the widening corruption probe was found dead yesterday on Long Island, a close friend and colleague surrendered his badge and gun.
As previously reported on TOT News, Inspector Michael Ameri, commanding officer of the NYPD’s Highway Patrol, was found in his unmarked police car on Friday afternoon.
The 44 year old divorced father of a teenage son apparently took his own life near the Bergen Point Golf Course three miles from his home in West Babylon.
Police said that Ameri, who had been with the NYPD since 1993, died of a gunshot wound to the head and that no suicide note was found at the scene.
It was during his tenure as the commanding officer of the NYPD’s 78th Precinct, which includes both Gowanus and Park Slope, that Ameri first met Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Park Slope resident.
Ameri was photographed chatting with the mayor and his wife at the 2014 Pride Parade in Park Slope and de Blasio released a statement expressing his sadness at Ameri’s passing.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time,” said de Blasio.
Sources said that many in the NYPD, including Ameri, have been particularly worried about the corruption probe. Ameri’s name surfaced in the ongoing probe in early April but at the time, the career cop did not appear overly concerned.
He had been interviewed twice by investigators about having possibly given preferential treatment to Jeremy Reichberg and Jonah Rechnitz.
Officers from the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau raided the Highway Patrol Unit office on Thursday in connection with the investigation, taking police escort logs from the office.
The corruption probe is said to be concluding soon, with possible criminal charges and other changes expected at high levels within the NYPD.
One source said that Ameri might have been facing departmental charges but not criminal ones.
Ameri took over as commanding officer of the highway unit in July 2014, bringing with him a close friend from the 78th Precinct, Lieutenant Michael Fargo.
Fargo was reassigned on Friday afternoon and the Lou Turco, head of the Lieutenants Benevolent Association, said that Fargo was asked to turn in his gun because authorities were worried he might harm himself.
“He’s distraught,” said Turco. “Everyone’s wondering what they could have done to prevent this.”
While sources said that Fargo’s impending retirement was possibly being put on hold until the investigation had concluded, Turco said that Fargo, who was extremely close with Ameri, was not involved in the NYPD probe.
“There are no allegations or charges against my lieutenant and he hasn’t been interviewed by anyone,” said Turco. “I am confident he will be able to retire in full status within three weeks.”
In addition to Ameri, three other members of the board of the Captains Endowment Association have been named in the NYPD corruption probe: Deputy Chief Michael Harrington, Deputy Inspector Michael Endall and Deputy Inspector James Grant. Harrington, Endall and Grant have all been disciplined in connection with the investigation.
One source classified Grant as being potentially suicide and said that he was reassigned to the NYPD’s Medical Services Division, in part so that other officers could keep an eye on him and prevent him from harming himself.