NEW YORK (AP) — The former head of police security for New York City’s mayor during the administration of Bill de Blasio pleaded guilty on Wednesday to blocking an investigation into the misuse of city resources during the Democrat’s failed presidential campaign.
Howard Redmond, once a high-ranking NYPD inspector, pleaded guilty to two counts of tampering with physical evidence, a felony, along with misdemeanor charges of obstructing governmental administration and official misconduct.
He avoided jail time under a plea deal reached with the Manhattan district attorney that mandated his termination from the NYPD and the loss of roughly $250,000 in accrued benefits.
A 2021 probe by the city’s Department of Investigation found that Redmond, 58, had “actively obstructed and sought to thwart” an inquiry into his boss, de Blasio.
That investigation accused de Blasio of misusing his police security detail by bringing them across the country during his failed White House bid and allowing them to serve as an unofficial taxi service for his adult children, according to the independent city agency.
De Blasio, a Democrat, has since been ordered to pay $475,000 for misusing taxpayers funds on the four-month campaign, including $320,000 that was spent on the flights, hotels, meals and rental cars for police officers working on his security detail. He is appealing that ruling.
As investigators sought information about the security detail, Redmond deliberately had his city-issued cell phone wiped, rather than turn over its contents, according to prosecutors.
On Wednesday, he offered an apology the city agency “for not taking the investigation seriously.”
Assistant District Attorney Samanthan Dworkin said the felony charges brought against Redmond should “send a message to public officials regardless of rank that no one is above the law.”
“The defendant’s obstructive conduct in this case ended his career,” she added. “He flouted the oversight authority of the Department of Investigation, he deleted messages from his city-issued devices and he was evasive with investigators.”
Redmond did not address the court beyond his apology and declined to speak with reporters. His attorney, Louis La Pietra, said his client had suffered the “ultimate humiliation” in losing his job of more than 30 years with the NYPD.
In addition to misusing his security detail during the White House bid, de Blasio was also accused of using police detail to complete non-government tasks for his adult children. The officers were directed to help his daughter move apartments and frequently drove his son between errands.
The report faulted the NYPD for its lack of written policies and procedures surrounding the mayor’s security detail.
De Blasio has said that Redmond and other “security experts” made informed decisions to ensure his family’s safety both during the presidential campaign and in New York City. The Department of Investigations report, he said, contained “many inconsistencies and inaccuracies.”
De Blasio did not respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.