Today’s news:

Former 104 captain cleared: Civic leader

Culbert, who was never charged in the incident and only received a minor command discipline, was replaced by Capt. Thomas Cusanelli from the Queens North Task Force in March.

The 104th Precinct covers Ridgewood, Maspeth, Glendale and Middle Village.

Robert Holden, the president of the Juniper Park Civic Association, said his group learned that Culbert "has been cleared of any racial charges involving his transfer from the 104th."

The Police Department did not return calls asking to verify the report, but Holden said he got the information from "very reliable sources."

"They won't get back to you because they're trying to sweep this under the rug," he said.

Holden organized a civic protest against Culbert's transfer and said community leaders have not given up on their quest to bring the captain back to the 104th Precinct.

The controversy stemmed from an incident in March when Culbert was on duty in Brooklyn for the funeral of Patrick Dorismond, the unarmed security guard shot and killed by police. Culbert was talking on his cellphone with his boss, Deputy Commander of Queens North Police Command Dewey Fong, the Police Department's highest-ranking Asian-American.

Culbert thought he had disconnected the cellphone, but it remained hooked into Fong's voice mail system, recording the conversation Culbert was having with a lieutenant and another police officer whose name was never released.

The two officers asked Culbert how he could take orders from someone who looks like a Chinese food delivery man.

Holden said the comments were in reference to a time when Fong walked into a station house wearing a white suit carrying a paper bag and was mistaken for a deliveryman.

He said Culbert only laughed when the officers in his car made what were described as anti-Asian remarks about Fong. The three officers continued to make jokes about Fong's ethnicity as the conversation was recorded on Fong's voice mail.

Many of Culbert's biggest supporters said he was innocent of the charges brought against him. In a private conversation with Deputy Chief James Tuller, the commander of Patrol Borough Queens North, Holden said Tuller told him that Culbert never said anything about race in the taped conversation.

The conversation was played back later by Fong, who then reported it to Deputy Police Commissioner Neldra M. Zeigler, who was in charge of investigating complaints of discrimination and harassment, the reports said. The incident was then routed to the Internal Affairs Bureau.

Culbert was transferred to a night position in the Strategic and Tactical Command, which polices northern Brooklyn, after only about three months at the helm of the 104th Precinct. He now works as a captain of investigations at the command, said Ivonne Vega, a police spokeswoman.

Supporters of the captain rallied for several weeks against the transfer.

Ironically, Fong, whose complaint to top police brass about the remark resulted in the transfer of Culbert, was himself transferred two weeks ago. Holden said New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik was dissatisfied with his performance, but this could not be independently confirmed.

Fong will now hold the title of executive officer of City Housing in Manhattan, said Police Officer Theresa Farello, a police spokeswoman.

Pin It
Print this story Permalink

Reader Feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

CNG: Community Newspaper Group