2 cops cleared of charges they impeded investigation

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An administrative judge cleared two 105th Precinct detectives of internal Police Department charges that they interfered with a Queens assistant district attorney’s investigation into a fellow 105th detective who killed a Queens Village man while driving intoxicated on April 26, 1998.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has 10 business days from June 25 to make a final determination on the ruling.

Detective Michael Failla and Detective Rick Tirelli were cleared last week of charges they impeded Assistant District Attorney Joshua Mandel’s attempt to interview Detective Robert Bolson after an accident in which Federico Hurtado, 62, was killed, an official said.

In a Police Department trial the judge ruled that there was not enough evidence to prove the two detectives interfered with Mandel’s attempt to question Bolson.

A veteran Queens detective from the 105th Precinct who was off duty, Bolson was put on modified duty after the fatal accident. He broadsided Hurtado, who was returning home with his wife Hilde at 222nd Street and 93rd Avenue in Queens Village. The crash critically injured his wife.

“I knew my client would be vindicated,” said Marvyn Kornberg, Failla’s attorney. “I knew that the assistant district attorney who testified in the course of the trial was not accurate and did not comport with all of the facts.”

He said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown should read the trial transcripts, investigate whether the transcripts were truthful and examine what he contended was a coverup in the DA’s office.

Lt. Brian Burke said the Police Department could not comment on the decision until the police commissioner makes a judgment on the judge’s decision.

Bolson, 40, was returned to active duty by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly April 12, 2002 after completing a 40-day suspension, said Kornberg, attorney for both Bolson and Failla has said.

Bolson had been on modified duty after the accident in which he was accused of driving while drunk.

State Supreme Court Justice Seymour Rotker cleared the 15-year Police Department veteran on June 21, 2001 of manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, assault, vehicular assault and criminally negligent homicide in the accident.

In the non-jury trial, Rotker decided Bolson was not guilty of the serious charges of vehicular manslaughter because it could not be proven that there was a cause-and-effect relationship between his drinking and the way he operated his car.

Bolson was found guilty of common-law driving while intoxicated, which means that someone smelled alcohol on his breath or he appeared to have been drinking, but it was not proven through chemical analysis.

A police lieutenant and a fourth detective also were involved in the incident, but their roles were unclear.

Lt. Stephen Camardese pleaded guilty and received a 12-day suspension, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the case. In addition, the official said charges against another officer, Detective Michael Zampella, who retired with a full pension, were still pending.

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

Posted 7:07 pm, October 10, 2011
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