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The I-Team has learned that so-called "police courtesy cards, " typically reserved for police family and friends, are being sold on the street with the promise they can get a buyer out of a traffic ticket, Chris Glorioso reports. Sergeants Benevolent Association Ed Mullins said the union will seek to put an end to the practice. (Published Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012)
For years in New York City, it's been customary for police officers to hand out "courtesy cards" to family and friends, but an I-Team investigation has found some of these cards are being sold to strangers on the Internet.
Some who hold the cards - wallet-sized pieces of plastic emblazoned with the logos and names of various labor unions representing NYPD personnel - believe that flashing the card could help them win leniency from police during traffic stops for minor infractions.
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Favoritism from police was a supposed selling point when NBC New York's I-Team recorded video of a sales pitch from a civilian middleman who brought an assortment of union cards on a South Brooklyn street corner.
The I-Team set up the undercover sale after discovering a website called Gifts 4 Kings maintained by Lester Magliano, a man who claimed to sell the cards on behalf of retired detectives and sergeants.
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Magliano agreed to meet at a gas station near his home. It was there he was caught on hidden camera attempting to sell the courtesy cards.
“You see? It says PBA, ” said Magliano, as he showed a card from the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.
“I get them from a detective. I get them from sergeants, ” said Magliano. He said he sells the cards for a profit, then gives the money back to the retired police officers who gave him the cards.
His most expensive item was a Sergeants Benevolent Association card sold in tandem with a miniature badge and black case etched with the NYPD logo, along with the words ”family member.” It was being offered for $200.
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