Appalling, absolutely appalling.
Report: N.Y. Cops Joked About Dying Man
From Associated Press
January 18, 2008 4:26 PM EST
NEW YORK - Police officers were taped joking about a dying, homeless Guatemalan immigrant after he was found on the side of a deserted road in their suburban town, a TV station reported.
"You wanna hear something really funny? ... He's alive," a Bedford police officer tells a sergeant on a taped phone call aired Thursday on WCBS.
The two go on to marvel - with the officer chuckling - that Rene Perez had apparently revived himself temporarily after authorities thought him dead. The station said Perez died an hour after the officers' taped exchange April 28.
In a phone call to another Bedford sergeant after Perez's death, a Bedford officer sings the title line from the 1966 Left Banke single "Walk Away Renee."
Chief Chris Menzel defended the department, telling WCBS, "We are not callous or indifferent." He said he could not comment further on the ongoing case.
Through a translator, Perez's brother, Anival Perez, called the taped conversations disrespectful.
A police officer in neighboring Mount Kisco is charged with manslaughter in Perez's death and has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors say George Bubaris drove the drunken Perez to Bedford, dealt him a deadly blow to the abdomen and left him to die.
Perez, 42, had a history of making drunken 911 calls. He called Mount Kisco police complaining of stomach pain on April 28, and police records show Bubaris reported there was no need for further action.
Lawsuits filed on behalf of Perez's family maintain that Mount Kisco and Bedford made a practice of "dumping" each other's undesirables in the neighboring town. Bedford police had taken Perez into Mount Kisco hours before Bubaris allegedly took him to Bedford, about 40 miles northeast of New York City.