Detective Rudranauth Toolasprashad, a community affairs officer known in the community as Rudy, was put on desk duty along with Ramon Reuther, and Sgt. Christophe Olsen but kept on the payroll, according to the newspaper. Another sergeant, who oversaw the detective squad, was transferred to another assignment.
Toolasprashad, a Queens Village resident, had strong support from civic leaders in the community and has been with the Police Department since 1990.
"He (Rudy) opened lines of communication with all organizations and all residents," Maria Thomson, president of the 102nd Precinct's Community Council said. "I do now know what is involved here. It was a shock to everyone."
The 102nd Precinct's headquarters are located at 87-34 118th St., just off Jamaica Avenue in Richmond Hill.
Thomson and others in the communities served by the 102nd Precinct, including Richmond Hill, Woodhaven, and Ozone Park, said they were left in the dark due to the lack of specifics in the charges against Toolasprashad, Reuther and Olsen. She said her phone has been ringing off the hook with queries from concerned residents who want an explanation of the events leading up to the investigation.
"I am heartbroken about this," Thomson said. "Rudy was always accessible - always - to everyone. Any topic, any problem that we brought to his attention was addressed."
The public information wing of the Police Department could not offer any details regarding the Internal Affairs investigation.
But according to The Times, Toolasprashad and others were alleged to have extorted money from members of immigrant communities in Queens in exchange for protection. Immigrants in the Richmond Hill-Ozone Park area include people from Pakistan, India, Guyana and Latin American Countries.
Harpreet Singh Toor, president of the Sikh Cultural Society whose Gurdwara is located at 95-30 118th St., praised Toolasprashad and said he was able to bring immigrant communities that were previously left out of discussions to the table. He said prior to the allegations, there had been no rumors about illegal activities in the 102nd Precinct.
"I am definitely surprised about it. I really don't have any firsthand knowledge of anything," Toor said. "I never saw him acting unprofessionally."
But others in the community questioned the motivation behind the Police Department's investigation.
Steven Esposito, president of the Greater Woodhaven Development Corporation, said he thinks Toolasprashad was targeted because he so successfully integrated immigrant communities into the activities at the 102nd Precinct.
"Somebody wants to stop him before he gets going," Esposito said. "I cannot see where these (allegations) are coming from."
He added: "Anything he has done for the community was done because he wanted to do it."
Reach reporter Alex Davidson by e-mail at news@times
©2004 Community News Group
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