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Sunday, June 16, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Courtroom Closed for Indicted NY Police Chief

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CN) - In a slap against public access to court proceedings, a federal judge ordered a closed courtroom beginning Friday for a former police chief to face charges that he slapped around a car-burglary suspect to force a false confession.

Former Suffolk County police chief James Burke, 51, found himself on the other side of a cell Wednesday after he was collard on charges that he assaulted an unidentified man, while that individual was handcuffed, to force him to confess to a crime he didn't commit.

The New York Post reported that the suspect was arrested on charges of stealing a duffel bag full of pornography and sex toy's out of Burke's official police vehicle. Burke is said to have resigned from the department this past October.

With Burke facing three counts of abuse on a federal indictment, U.S. District Judge Leonard Wexler issued an order Wednesday for Burke's trial to "sealed to the public," beginning Friday.

Burke has already pleaded not guilty to the accusations.

The federal indictment against Burke was issued as sealed on Monday, but Wexler unsealed it Wednesday when the policeman was arrested. In the same order, however, Wexler approved the government's request to seal the details of Burke's arrest.

Wexler also recommended that Burke be housed at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

The unidentified man at the core of the chief's incarceration was arrested last year on car-burglary charges. He claimed he was chained up during his unwarranted arrest, slapped around, and confessed to the charges against him only to stop the abuse.

The FBI opened a grand jury investigation of the case in December 2012.

During the grand jury investigation, Burke lied under oath to FBI officials about the assault, U.S. District Attorney Robert L. Capers said Wednesday.

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