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Former Police Chief Pleads Guilty to Preventing Kennedy Student's Arrest

He, and other law enforcement officials, provided special treatment for son of police donor.

The three former police officials that are connected to the case. Credit: Patch.
The three former police officials that are connected to the case. Credit: Patch.
John Hunter, a former Nassau County Police Department chief, pleaded guilty Wednesday after he conspired to prevent Merrick resident Zachary Parker's arrest in May of 2009.

In return for pleading guilty to conspiracy and official misconduct, Hunter was sentenced to With prosecutors’ agreement, three years of probation, 500 hours of community service unrelated to law enforcement or EMS, he's required to film a police training video to help recruits avoid his illegal mistakes.

“In February, a jury convicted former Deputy Police Commissioner William Flanagan for his role in this conspiracy, and today former Chief John Hunter admitted his guilt,” said Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice. “We brought these cases to make sure that there isn’t one set of rules for the rich and connected and another for everyone else. John Hunter violated his oath and the law when he gave special treatment to a wealthy friend’s son, and today’s guilty plea ensures that he will face serious consequences for his conduct.”

On May 19, 2009, a school administrator from John F. Kennedy High School called police to report the theft of more than $10,000 in electronics.

The administrator identified Zachary Parker, a student at the school and part-time employee of the NCPD’s Emergency Ambulance Bureau, as the suspected thief and, in a sworn statement to police, expressed her desire that he be arrested. 

Parker’s job with the NCPD caused the case to be referred to the department’s Internal Affairs Unit. Deputy Chief of Patrol John Hunter, who was not in this unit’s direct chain of command, directed that the case remain assigned to the Seventh Precinct.

Hunter had been instrumental in creating the job for Zachary Parker in the NCPD, and he and former Deputy Police Commissioner William Flanagan were frequent guests at expensive lunches and dinners hosted by Gary Parker, Zachary’s father, for high-ranking members of the NCPD and other law enforcement agencies.

Gary Parker also donated large sums of money to the Nassau County Police Department Foundation. On May 23, 2009, Hunter asked the school administrator’s nephew, a NCPD officer, to lobby her not to press charges. He refused.

In a May 30, 2009 email exchange, Gary Parker requested that Hunter get the NCPD to “lay low” on the investigation into his son. Hunter responded that he would make sure that was done. On June 15, 2009, Hunter directed Detective Sergeant Alan Sharpe to have the property returned to the school. Sharpe dispatched a Seventh Squad detective to do that the following day, but the administrator refused to sign a withdrawal of prosecution form and the property was returned to the precinct. 

On June 18, 2009, Gary Parker reached out to Flanagan to ask for his assistance. Through July and August, Flanagan worked with Sharpe to coordinate the return of the stolen property to the school administrator and to prevent Parker's arrest, with Flanagan assuring Gary Parker in an email that he had “no doubt about the outcome”. 

On September 1, 2009, Sharpe directed one of his detectives to return the stolen property to the school administrator and to obtain her signature on a withdrawal of prosecution form. She accepted the property, but again refused to sign the withdrawal form. Despite her refusal, however, Sharpe instructed a subordinate to enter a “close out” memo in the NCPD computer system on September 19, 2010, falsely claiming that the school administrator did not want Zachary Parker arrested. 

While never arrested by the NCPD, Zachary Parker was prosecuted by the Nassau County District Attorney’s office and is serving time in an upstate prison after violating the probation to which he was originally sentenced. The case against Sharpe is pending. 

Hunter’s base salary in 2011, before overtime, was $187,208. He submitted his resignation on Feb. 29, 2012 and received termination pay of $415,302.68 from the county. 

What do you think of Hunter's sentence? Tell us in the comments section below.
Robert Demarco May 01, 2013 at 04:54 PM
Is there any department in Nassau County government that is not corrupt? This is the culture in Nassau County. This guy gets to keep his pension and payout, and only do community service. And they say that crime doesn't pay? It sure as hell does in Nassau County.
Giambona Jr May 01, 2013 at 08:12 PM
I think the prosecutor gave him a sweet deal.He is no different than a civilian nd should have received a felony, He s a dirt bag and got off easy
Massa May 06, 2013 at 02:51 PM
Thiese guys are criminals, and I don't care how long they served on the force. They are a disgrace to every good officer who puts on a shield and takes an oath. Why should they Not do the time they deserve? These guys were Nassau county PD bosses. They had the easiest job in the world..... I never even see Nassau Sgt's out making a difference. That is one if the main problems in this horrible police Dept, NO supervision.
Robert Demarco May 06, 2013 at 03:33 PM
Nassau County sure takes care of its own. Police commanders doing favors for a donor, whose son committed a crime. The connected get what they want, the cops who do wrong live happily ever after, and the public continues to get fleeced.
Giambona Jr May 06, 2013 at 09:38 PM
There is so much coruption in nassau county PD it is disgusting,and the sad part about it is nothing is being done about it. Those dirt bag so called CHIEFS are just common everyday CRIMINALS!!!

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