No indcitments for Hoboken police brass

Prosecutor passes on charging SWAT cop, chief
January 15, 2008 Jersey Journal

Hudson County Prosecutor Edward DeFazio decided today not to seek indictments against the Hoboken police chief and a lieutenant who headed up the now-disbanded SWAT team, both of whom were accused of ordering subordinates to do work at their houses on police time.

DeFazio said there was not enough evidence against Chief Carmen LaBruno and Lt. Angelo Andriani, both of whom found themselves at the center of controversy after photos surfaced of SWAT cops cavorting with Hooters waitresses -- who were seen holding the officers' guns -- and with topless women at Mardi Gras during relief missions to help victims of Hurricane Katrina.

"We sent the matter back to Hoboken for their review and administrative action as they deem appropriate," DeFazio said. "It was concluded that criminal charges should not be pursued against Lt. Andriani or any other police personnel involved."

The two were named in a lawsuit filed by five officers who said they were made to perform work at the two men's homes and who also allege that Andriani is a white supremacist who used racial slurs and donned a mock Ku Klux Klan hood during one of the Hurricane Katrina trips.

DeFazio said "there were clearly administrative issues that should be addressed" with the management of the SWAT unit and the Auto Theft Task Force, which was also led by Andriani.

A grand jury had been convened to investigate possible criminal charges after five Latino Hoboken cops sued Andriani, LaBruno and the city for alleged discrimination and creating a hostile work environment. DeFazio dismissed the grand jury without asking them to deliberate.

In the suit, four of the officers claim Andriani forced them to do work on his Verona home while on police time.

Some officers involved in the lawsuit accuse LaBruno of forcing cops to move building materials from his basement and put them in a municipal garage. Andriani had said that the cops were on their own time, preparing his home for a SWAT party. LaBruno has said the materials were to build a SWAT team office.

Records of the officers' work hours were imprecise, DeFazio said, and that played a role in his decision not to pursue criminal charges.

Attorney Louis Zayas, who represents the five officers in the lawsuit, said he's upset the grand jury was not given the chance to deliberate an indictment.

Hoboken Corporation Counsel Steven Kleinman said the city's labor counsel, David Corrigan, will now complete his investigation and the city will then decide whether to pursue disciplinary action.

Andriani's attorney, Charles J. Sciarra, said DeFazio's decision is the "first in several steps to put an end to this nonsense. . We are very comfortable that the rules and procedures as they existed were followed by Andriani at all times."

Rich Rivera, a spokesman for the state chapter of the National Latino Peace Officer Association, said that he had asked the FBI to step in.

"We are not surprised (by DeFazio's decision), which is the reason why we took this matter to the FBI and the reason why they are actively pursuing it," Rivera said.

The FBI could not be reached yesterday.

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