The embattled president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, Edward Mullins, resigned under pressure from his board Oct. 5, hours after Federal agents searched the lower Manhattan offices of the Sergeants Benevolent Association and his Long Island home.
The fiery and outspoken Mr. Mullins, already burdened by a departmental trial on abuse-of-authority charges that was to resume Oct. 27, was asked to step down, the board said in a letter to its members, due to “the severity of this matter and the uncertainty of its outcome.”
'No Other Officers Targeted'
Officials declined to elaborate on the nature of their investigations, but their search of Mr. Mullins’s Nassau County home would indicate that he is the primary target of the investigation.
Agents from the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York spent several hours inside the SBA’s Tribeca offices on Worth St. before carting away at least two boxes of evidence just after 1 p.m. An FBI spokesman would only say that the agency was “carrying out a law-enforcement action in connection with an ongoing investigation.”
In its letter, the board said that the “nature and scope of this criminal investigation has yet to be determined.” While it said that “it is clear” that Mr. Mullins was being investigated, the board had “no reason to believe that any other member of the SBA is involved or targeted in this matter.”
SBA: 'Cannot Be Distracted'
While the board asked members “to withhold judgment” for the time being, the letter continued, “the day to day functioning and the important business of the SBA cannot be distracted by the existence of this investigation.”
The abuse-of-authority charges on which Mr. Mullins faces an NYPD trial stemmed from the alleged doxing of Mayor de Blasio’s daughter on Twitter following her arrest at a George Floyd protest in May 2020.
Mr. Mullins, the SBA president since 2002, is also scheduled for department trials on charges that he used offensive language against two city officials, in the first instance—also in May last year—for saying that then-Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Oxiris Barbot was a "bitch" who “has blood on her hands” following revelations of her dispute with then-NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan over protective equipment.
The other substantiated offensive-language charge concerns a tweet by Mr. Mullins in which he called then-City Councilman Ritchie Torres a “first-class whore” in September 2020.
Following news of the investigation, Mr. Torres, now a Congressman representing parts of The Bronx, tweeted, “Ed Mullins, who famously called me a 'first-class whore' for daring to ask questions about the @SBANYPD, just got a first-class raid from the FBI.”
NYPD Declines Comment
Mr. Mullins could not be reached for comment and his attorney did not return a text message seeking comment. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York said he could not confirm or comment on reporting by The New York Times that the U.S. Attorney’s public-corruption unit was involved in the investigation.
An NYPD spokeswoman referred comments to the FBI. She declined to say whether Sergeant Mullins’s employment status with the department had been changed due to the investigation. He earned $133,785 in 2020 in NYPD salary, while released from his departmental duties to work full-time on union business, like many city labor leaders. He also pulled in roughly $87,000 for his union tasks, according to the SBA’s IRS filings.
Vincent Vallelong, 52, a 31-year NYPD veteran and the union’s vice president under Mr. Mullins, has succeeded him as president.
Mayor de Blasio, whose relationship with NYPD unions has been compromised since early in his first term but who has a had a particularly rocky relationship with Mr. Mullins and the SBA, said that while he had no details about the investigation, he considered the union leader “a divisive voice.”
“I want to really hear the details before I comment further,” he said during his Tuesday morning press briefing.
Detours to Slam COBA
Mr. de Blasio nevertheless used the occasion to once again call out the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association for what he insisted was that union’s encouragement of a work slowdown that has led to crisis-level situations on Rikers Island, despite lacking substantive evidence to support his claim of union involvement that would violate the state's Taylor Law barring job actions by public employees and their representatives.
“We need our municipal unions to help us move out of the COVID era, not hinder us, not create division, but help unify the city and move us forward,” he said.