March 17, 2005
By Bryan Joiner
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown has decided not to file charges against "Detective Rudy" Toolasprashad, the Community Affairs officer at the 102nd Precinct who is being investigated by the NYPD's Internal Affairs Division, Toolasprashad's attorneys said this week.
Todd Greenberg, of the law firm Addabbo & Greenberg, told the Queens Chronicle that the D.A. last week turned Toolasprashad's case back over to the IDA without filing charges. The IAD has been investigating Toolasprashad and three other officers from the 102nd Precinct for allegedly taking bribes for parking permits along Jamaica Avenue. The officers were all reassigned in February 2004 pending the outcome of the investigation.
Toolasprashad, a Guyanese immigrant, was the most visible officer arrested. He is extremely popular in the largely immigrant community of Richard hill, where the precinct is located. He was brought to the precinct in 1999 to improve relations in the multiethnic neighborhood, and so many people began attending the meetings of the 102nd Precinct Community Council that they had to move from a small venue into the spacious Moose Hall.
The NYPD could still file internal charges against Toolasprashad, but the case has clearly now moved into its final stages. This is the first time there has been public news since it broke over a year ago.
The IAD's silence infuriated members of the community council, where fewer ethnic minorities have attended the meetings since shortly after the accusations were announced. Then, a standing-room-only crowd packed Moose Hall to demand answers from the IAD, which did not divulge details of the investigation.
At the time, investigators from the agency walked up and down Jamaica Avenue, asking business owners whether or not the suspended officers had ever taken gifts from them. One store owner said an IAD officer asked him whether he had ever given Toolasprashad anything, including a free soda.
Maria Thomson, president of the 102nd Precinct Community Council called this week's development "great news. It's what we knew all along. I know that he and his family will be so relieved."
Toolasprashad has worked for the last year at a desk job at the NYPD's Housing Bureau in Brooklyn, where he was reassigned for the duration of the investigation. Greenberg said Toolasprashad "wants to go back to his community" in Richmond Hill. He added that Toolasprashad felt "some type of vindication" from the news, but was not surprised.
"Through the whole thing he knew he did not do anything wrong, and he was depressed about the false allegations. But we still don't know exactly what the allegations were," Greenberg said.
According to published reports, Toolasprashad was investigated for possibly taking bribes from store owners and for allowing Sikhs to bypass certain procedures to obtain new passports after the Sikh Cultural Society's gurdwara burnt down in 2002. Sikh Cultural Society members have denied those allegations.
Toolasprashad was known for freely giving out his cell phone number to members of the community and helping residents who called him at all hours of the night. Now he may be one step closer to returning to that role. "We want to get him back on the street where he belongs," Greenberg said.