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An NYPD inspector tried to cover up his date's drunken crash, prosecutors say

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An NYPD inspector tried to cover up his date's drunken crash, prosecutors say
News

News

An NYPD inspector tried to cover up his date's drunken crash, prosecutors say

2024-06-14 09:35 Last Updated At:09:40

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York Police Department inspector has been indicted on charges that he lied to investigators and tried to get incriminating video footage erased after his girlfriend drunkenly crashed his police car into a cab, prosecutors said Thursday.

Deputy Inspector Paul Zangrilli, who led a police precinct in Manhattan, is accused of trying to cover up the 2022 wreck by acts including switching seats with his girlfriend after the wreck and then offering the cab driver money.

Zangrilli pleaded not guilty to all charges. His lawyer, Eric Franz, didn't immediately respond to phone messages from The Associated Press but told some news outlets Zangrilli was a respected inspector who has been waiting two years to “ clear his good name.”

Manhattan prosecutors said Zangrilli was out drinking with his girlfriend on a summer night when he let her drive his unmarked police vehicle. She crashed into a cab, then, with Zangrilli in the passenger seat, sped away from the scene, Manhattan prosecutors said.

Instead of turning his girlfriend in, prosecutors said Zangrilli switched seats with her, then kept driving. When the cab driver caught up with them at a red light and flagged down another police officer, prosecutors said Zangrilli repeatedly offered $500 or $1,000 to the cab driver rather than exchange insurance information.

Then, prosecutors said, Zangrilli called an NYPD captain and told a series of lies: that he had been driving alone and was on his way to work when the crash happened.

Prosecutors allege that he soon signed into work at his own precinct and called the owner of the bar asking him to erase video footage that would capture the couple's three-hour drinking session.

“This alleged behavior was incredibly dangerous, leading to injuries for one cab driver and putting the safety of many other drivers and pedestrians at risk. Furthermore, this NYPD Deputy Inspector, then a Commanding Officer, allegedly went to great lengths to cover up the incident to avoid responsibility,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement. “We will continue to hold public servants accountable when they violate the public trust.”

Zangrilli is charged with various felonies, including tampering with evidence, offering a false instrument for filing and falsifying business records. He's also charged with drinking while driving and misdemeanors related to misconduct and obstruction.

Zangrilli's date was also charged with drunken driving and pleaded not guilty.

In 2023, Zangrilli earned around $200,000 in base pay and other compensation, according to New York City public salary records.

Zangrilli was suspended without pay, the NYPD said in a statement.

FILE - Members of the New York City Police Department listen to a news conference, Jan. 4, 2017, in New York. Paul Zangrilli, a high-ranking NYPD official lied to fellow law enforcement and tried to get incriminating video footage erased after his girlfriend crashed his police car. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

FILE - Members of the New York City Police Department listen to a news conference, Jan. 4, 2017, in New York. Paul Zangrilli, a high-ranking NYPD official lied to fellow law enforcement and tried to get incriminating video footage erased after his girlfriend crashed his police car. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) — Republican vice presidential nominee JD Vance will make his first solo appearances on the campaign trail Monday, a day after the 2024 presidential race was thrown into upheaval as President Joe Biden dropped out of the race, leaving the Democratic candidate an open question.

Vance, an Ohio senator, is scheduled to hold a rally in his hometown of Middletown, followed by an evening event in Radford, Virginia, fresh off his rally debut with Donald Trump over the weekend.

Vance had been expected to eventually face Vice President Kamala Harris in a debate. But with Biden dropping out and the Democratic ticket unsettled, the senator is following Trump’s lead and focusing on attacking Biden and Harris jointly.

“President Trump and I are ready to save America, whoever’s at the top of the Democrat ticket,” Vance said Sunday in a post on X. “Bring it on.”

Trump’s campaign plans to use Vance, who became the GOP vice presidential nominee last week, in Rust Belt states that are seen as pivotal for Democrats’ path to the White House, including Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, and places where the senator’s blue collar roots and populist views are expected to resonate.

Middletown, between Cincinnati and Dayton, is considered to be part of the Rust Belt. Using it as the location for his first solo event as the vice presidential nominee not only allows Vance to lean into his biography, which he laid out in his bestselling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” but it gives the campaign a chance to establish a fresh groundswell in a former swing state that has been trending Republican.

While Republicans promoted a unifying message last week and decried inflammatory language in the wake of the assassination attempt against Trump, one of the first speakers to introduce Vance at the rally suggested the country may need to come to civil war if Trump loses in November.

“I believe wholeheartedly, Donald Trump and Butler County’s JD Vance are the last chance to save our country,” said George Lang, a Republican state senator. “Politically, I’m afraid if we lose this one, it’s going to take a civil war to save the country and it will be saved. It’s the greatest experiment in the history of mankind."

Vendors outside the event removed merchandise referencing Biden and added coffee mugs, T-shirts and other items that featured Vance.

Vance’s second stop is in a part of western Virginia that is considered a part of the Appalachia region. The campaign's decision to send Vance there also signals their confidence in their chances. Virginia is a state that had been a swing state but has gone for Democrats in every presidential election since 2008.

In his speech at the Republican National Convention last week introducing himself to America, Vance spoke about “forgotten communities” where “jobs were sent overseas and children were sent to war.”

The 39-year-old Republican also leaned into his relative youth, contrasting Biden’s decades in government with the milestones in his own life. It’s not clear how Vance will shift his message toward Harris, whom many Democrats were lining up to support, or any other contender for the nomination.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, who is seen as a potential Democratic vice presidential candidate, made a point of criticizing Vance for the way he has portrayed Kentucky and the region.

Vance was raised by his grandparents in Middletown, which is not in Appalachia, but spent a significant amount of time traveling to Kentucky with his grandparents to visit family. The senator has said he hopes to be buried in a small mountain cemetery there.

“He ain’t from here,” Beshear told The Associated Press.

The governor took issue with Vance's portrayals in his book of people in Kentucky and eastern Kentucky and suggestions that they were lazy or not motivated to work.

“You don’t get to just come in eastern Kentucky a couple of times in the summer and then maybe for weddings and a funeral and cast judgment on us. It’s offensive,” Beshear said.

Despite his presence on the primetime debate stage and his bestselling book, Vance is still working to introduce himself to voters.

A CNN poll conducted in late June found the majority of registered voters had never heard of Vance or had no opinion of him. Just 13% of registered voters said they had a favorable opinion of Vance and 20% had an unfavorable one, according to the poll.

After Vance was named as Trump’s running mate, a startling number of Republican delegates, who are typically party insiders and activists, said they didn’t know much about the senator.

In his hometown in Ohio, though, he was welcomed as a local star.

Zetta Davidson, 73, a longtime poll worker from Fairborn, Ohio, called it “a wonderful move” for Trump to pick Vance. “I think he’s honest, straightforward, and if it’s not right, he’ll rip it apart,” she said.

A 72-year-old retiree from Middletown, Randy Linville, called Vance an “excellent choice."

“No. 1, he’s young,” Linville said. "Mr. Trump is not that old, but he’s getting up there.”

Vance has served in the Senate for less than two years. He has morphed from being a harsh Trump critic, at one point likening him to Hitler, to becoming a staunch defender of the former president, hitting the campaign trail on his behalf and even joining him at his Manhattan criminal trial this summer.

Price reported from New York. Associated Press writer Bruce Schreiner in Louisville, Kentucky, contributed to this report.

Follow the AP’s coverage of the 2024 election at https://apnews.com/hub/election-2024

This story has been corrected to reflect that state Sen. George Lang said Butler County, not Booker County, when referring to JD Vance.

Attendees wait in line to attend a campaign rally for Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, at Middletown High School, Monday, July 22, 2024, in Middletown, Ohio. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

Attendees wait in line to attend a campaign rally for Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, at Middletown High School, Monday, July 22, 2024, in Middletown, Ohio. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

Police snipers stand atop Middletown High School before Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, speaks at a campaign rally, Monday, July 22, 2024, in Middletown, Ohio. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

Police snipers stand atop Middletown High School before Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, speaks at a campaign rally, Monday, July 22, 2024, in Middletown, Ohio. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

Supporters wait in line to attend a campaign rally for Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, at Middletown High School, Monday, July 22, 2024, in Middletown, Ohio. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

Supporters wait in line to attend a campaign rally for Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, at Middletown High School, Monday, July 22, 2024, in Middletown, Ohio. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

Members of the police department look on at a campaign rally for Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, at Middletown High School, Monday, July 22, 2024, in Middletown, Ohio. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

Members of the police department look on at a campaign rally for Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, at Middletown High School, Monday, July 22, 2024, in Middletown, Ohio. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

Police snipers stand atop Middletown High School as supporters arrive to attend a campaign rally with Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, Monday, July 22, 2024, in Middletown, Ohio. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

Police snipers stand atop Middletown High School as supporters arrive to attend a campaign rally with Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, Monday, July 22, 2024, in Middletown, Ohio. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

A cardboard cutout of former first lady Melania Trump appears as supporters arrive at a campaign rally for Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, at Middletown High School, Monday, July 22, 2024, in Middletown, Ohio. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

A cardboard cutout of former first lady Melania Trump appears as supporters arrive at a campaign rally for Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, at Middletown High School, Monday, July 22, 2024, in Middletown, Ohio. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

Supporters arrive at a campaign rally for Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, at Middletown High School, Monday, July 22, 2024, in Middletown, Ohio. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

Supporters arrive at a campaign rally for Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, at Middletown High School, Monday, July 22, 2024, in Middletown, Ohio. (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, arrives to speak at a campaign event with Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump, Saturday, July 20, 2024, at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, arrives to speak at a campaign event with Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump, Saturday, July 20, 2024, at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

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