By Graham Rayman
New York Daily News
Mar 17, 2023 at 11:15 am
Speaking with the Daily News for the first time since his ouster from the NYPD, Salvatore Greco says he’s been tarred as being connected to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol despite no evidence he had any involvement.
Greco’s friendship with Trump loyalist and pardoned perjurer Roger Stone got him fired under the “criminal association” clause in the NYPD Patrol Guide, which bars cops from contact with anyone “reasonably believed to be engaged in, likely to engage in, or to have engaged in criminal activities.”
But Greco, 41, says a double standard is in play — in his view, the NYPD picks and chooses when it applies the rule. He says the rule was wrongly turned against him because of his friendship with Stone.
“After 14 years, there’s nothing negative in my record, not even any CCRB [Civilian Complaint Review Board] complaints,” he said during an interview in which he sat alongside Stone. “You’re basically saying because you are friends with this person, it’s like you never existed. I lost my reputation, but I haven’t lost my faith and that’s what keeps me going.”
As part of his $25 million lawsuit against the city, he pointed out he was fired under the criminal association clause — but top NYPD brass entertained rapper Cardi B Feb. 23 at the Police Academy even after she pleaded guilty last year for her role in a 2018 strip club fight.
NYPD Chief of Training Juanita Holmes, who arranged the Cardi B appearance, was ousted from that role and appointed city Probation Commissioner — with Mayor Adams declaring, “You don’t discard people.”
“The patrol guide procedure is a very broad brush,” Greco said. “But when you are stating that me being friends with Roger was detrimental to the NYPD, how can you then turn around and invite Cardi B to the Police Academy?
“There’s gotta be one rule, one standard.”
The NYPD declined to comment on pending litigation.
Jan. 6 proximity
A key issue at Greco’s administrative trial was his proximity to the Jan. 6 insurrection — and to Stone, in particular.
Stone was convicted of lying to Congress and sentenced to 40 months in prison in 2020 until Trump granted him clemency and then pardoned him in December 2020.
Greco was with Stone at the political operative’s sentencing and spent Jan. 5 and 6, 2021 with him in Washington at the Willard Hotel.
Video showed members of the radical right Oath Keepers group acting as security for the political operative over the 36 hours leading up to the violence at the Capitol.
Joshua James, one of the Oath Keepers doing security for Stone, pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy and obstruction of Congress in March 2022. James provided a statement for NYPD prosecutors saying Greco was also a bodyguard for Stone.
Stone was also in close touch with members of another radical right group, the Proud Boys, in the lead-up to the violence, the Jan. 6 Committee in Congress reported…
But the NYPD acknowledged that Greco did not actually go to the Capitol during the violence or present any evidence the cop was interested in overthrowing the government.
…Stone insists he and Greco are simply friends. They met via Instagram when Greco posted messages supportive of Stone after he was indicted by the feds.
“I went through hell in the [perjury] investigation, and he was sympathetic,” said Stone, 70. “He came down and visited my family at Easter, at Christmas. We’re friends. That’s it. I never paid him anything.”
The second charge for which Greco was fired — conduct prejudicial to the department — was for working as unpaid security for Stone.
Greco and Stone insisted the former cop never acted as security for Stone. Even if he did, they argue that while paid off-duty employment requires NYPD approval, the patrol guide is silent on unpaid off-duty employment.
“There is nothing that states anywhere about uncompensated security,” Greco said. “They didn’t care what the facts were. They made it up in their mind.”
Concerns about the investigation
Greco and Stone claim Internal Affairs did a series of questionable things in its investigation, which began with an anonymous letter to the NYPD:
- In January 2021, NYPD investigators followed Greco from Staten Island all the way to a Pennsylvania hospital where he was going to visit his dying father Joseph Greco, who spent his career in the food business. He died not long after the visit.
An Internal Affairs Bureau memo obtained by The News confirms Greco’s account. He was followed from his gym to a bodega to the Lehigh Valley Cancer Center. IAB terminated the surveillance 10 minutes after Greco entered the facility, the record shows.
“This was after their witness (Oath Keeper James) told them I was never at the Capitol,” Greco said. “This type of abuse should never have happened.”
- During the departmental trial, it emerged that the NYPD had used administrative subpoenas — information demands not signed by a judge — to get Greco’s phone, bank and other records. In order to do that, they claimed they were investigating Greco for narcotics.
“I think that Internal Affairs decided they would have to resubmit this stuff and make it a criminal investigation in order to obtain the material they wanted,” Stone said.
At trial, the NYPD acknowledged there was no underlying drug allegation.
”It all went way above a line you never should have reached,” Greco said.
- Also during the trial, the NYPD mentioned Manhattan Madam Kristin Davis’ criminal record because Greco was also friends with her. Greco claims in their investigation Internal Affairs actually accessed Davis’ sealed records.
“This is the kind of thing they do behind the scenes that they don’t want you to know about,” Greco said.
At one point, the NYPD offered a plea deal of 60 lost vacation days and one-year probation where he could be fired for anything, Greco said.
Greco’s PBA delegate told him to take the deal, Greco said. “I rejected it because I come in and they don’t like the color of my socks, they can fire me,” the Bensonhurst native said.
A week after his NYPD trial ended, Greco got a subpoena from the Jan. 6 Committee. This time, he had to hire his own lawyer and testified on Zoom for more than two hours, he recalls.
“The NYPD gave them all my records right after the trial,” Greco said. “It was a fishing expedition and they found no wrongdoing on my part.”
In all, Greco estimates that he has spent close to $50,000 on legal fees.
Greco, now a Florida resident, faces an uncertain future. When Sewell fired him, he also lost his pension, and was barred from getting a coveted retired officer’s ID card and a so-called “good guy” letter which allows him to carry a firearm and work in the security field.
“I believe that there’s going to be something greater for me,” Greco said. “I just hope that there’s justice in my case.”
EDITED FOR LENGTH