An NYPD commander was cooperating with authorities as part of a wide-ranging corruption probe before fatally shooting himself, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Monday.
Inspector Michael Ameri “was not the target of our investigations,” Bratton told WCBS Newsradio 880. “He had been cooperating with the investigation. So as to whatever his motivation might have been for taking his own life, that we don’t know.”
Nine police officials, including four deputy chiefs, have been transferred or stripped of their guns and badges as part of internal and federal corruption probes.
The investigation is looking into whether police officers accepted gifts and trips from businessmen Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz in exchange for police escorts and favors.
“We can’t really say much about it while the FBI investigates,” Bratton said, as reported by CBS2’s Dick Brennan.
The two have ties to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign. Both served on de Blasio’s inaugural committee and either donated or raised money for him.
The probe also involves an investigation of alleged payoffs for gun licenses.
Alex “Shaya” Lichtenstein has been charged with bribing police to give him gun permits without background checks, which he would allegedly sell for a large profit.
NYPD Officer Michael Melici, who refused to cooperate with a federal grand jury, has also been found guilty on departmental charges. He was accused of failing to comply with a supervisor’s order. Bratton will decide his fate.
Last week, NYPD inspector Michael Ameri, 44, was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in his car in West Babylon, police said.
Ameri was questioned recently as part of the federal probe, according to sources. He was one of many police officers or officials questioned, and was not disciplined by the department in any way, sources said.
On Tuesday, Bratton said that Ameri was cooperating with investigators in the time leading up to his death and was a well-respected and active member of the NYPD. Bratton also said Ameri had not been questioned by investigators since March 18.
Ameri, head of the NYPD Highway District, didn’t sign an agreement with the feds and was under no obligation to testify, a law enforcement.
Ameri, 44, killed himself Friday after the feds seized boxes of records from his station house.
“He was a great man, a great person,” said his girlfriend, Rosemarie Muckenthaler, an NYPD detective.
Bratton also derided sergeants union chief Ed Mullins as “Crazy Eddie” a day after Mullins accused Bratton of “hypocrisy” and demanded his resignation.
Bratton, also in the radio interview, cited a September column by The Post’s Richard Johnson in suggesting that Mullins “thinks he might be the next police commissioner.”
“But I’m not going anywhere for a while, so you might have to wait a while,” Bratton said.
Mullins responded: “Sadly, Commissioner Bratton has chosen to avoid answering for his own misconduct and, as usual, reverts to labeling those who raise serious issues as ‘crazy,’ typical of weak leaders.”