Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Arrest Of SuspendedPort Chester Police Chief For Witness Tampering And Retaliation
Preet Bharara, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and George Venizelos, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, (“FBI”), announced today the unsealing of a two-count Complaint charging JOSEPH KRZEMINSKI, the Village of Port Chester Police Chief, with tampering with, and retaliating against, a witness in a federal investigation being conducted by the FBI. The Complaint alleges that the FBI is conducting an investigation into allegations surrounding the disappearance of over $26,000 in cash and narcotics from the evidence room at the Port Chester Police Department, and other allegations of theft and misconduct. The Complaint further alleges that KRZEMINSKI, age 62, physically threatened and retaliated against the Port Chester Police Department’s Acting Chief, who has been cooperating with the FBI in its investigation. KRZEMINSKI was arrested yesterday afternoon and was presented before United States Magistrate Judge Lisa Margaret Smith in White Plains federal court. KRZEMINSKI was released pursuant to a $100,000 personal recognizance bond to the custody of his son.
According to the Complaint unsealed in White Plains federal court:
Since early September 2013, the FBI has been investigating the theft of more than $26,000 in cash from one of the evidence rooms at the Port Chester (Westchester County, New York) Police Department headquarters and additional matters. Shortly after the investigation began, KRZEMINSKI was directed by the Village of Port Chester "not to exercise any of the authority, responsibilities and duties associated with being the Chief of Police" until he was authorized to return to duty. The Village also appointed a Captain of the Port Chester Police Department to the position of Acting Chief. After assuming his duties, the Acting Chief provided information to the FBI relating to possible violations of federal law.
On October 28, 2013, KRZEMINSKI forced his way inside the Acting Chief's home in Port Chester and shouted that the Acting Chief was a "rat" and a "rat bastard." KRZEMINSKI also stated to the Acting Chief, “Who do you think you are telling those people what's going on?" and further said that the Acting Chief did not have the authority to make such reports. KRZEMINSKI also stated, in substance and in part, that he would fire the Acting Chief when KRZEMINSKI returned to duty. During the encounter, KRZEMINSKI put his hands on the Acting Chief's shoulders near his neck. At another point during the encounter, KRZEMINSKI made a fist and cocked his arm, as if he intended to strike the Acting Chief.
On the same day, KRZEMINSKI placed a call to the Port Chester Police Department and told a supervisory police officer that “if [the Acting Chief] doesn’t think I’m coming back he’s dreaming” and that “the first thing I’m gonna do is retaliate against him.” KRZEMINSKI further explained that when he returned to work he would immediately place the Acting Chief on unpaid leave. KRZEMINSKI repeatedly told the supervisory police officer to tell the Acting Chief what he had said.
The Port Chester Village Board met in the late afternoon of October 31, 2013. As the Board was about to go into executive session, KRZEMINSKI forced his way into the room and refused to leave. After the Acting Chief warned KRZEMINKSI that he would be arrested if he did not leave, KRZEMINSKI stated "Go fuck yourself. Don't you tell me you gonna arrest me." KRZEMINSKI then stated, "Let me tell you what this scumbag did to me." The Acting Chief then directed police officers who were present to arrest KRZEMINSKI. KRZEMINSKI resisted arrest, but was handcuffed and removed.
KRZEMINSKI faces, upon conviction, a maximum sentence of 20 years' imprisonment on each of the two counts charged in the Complaint, which charge KRZEMINSKI with witness tampering and retaliating against a witness.
This prosecution is being handled by the Office's White Plains Division. Assistant U.S. Attorney James McMahon is in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.