New York Daily News
The cop accused of flying an NYPD spy plane in a penis-shaped route got a soft landing Thursday when he agreed to forfeit five vacation days as punishment.
Officer Derin Devuono’s deal with the NYPD is a lot less severe than the 30 days of lost vacation time he faced had he been found guilty at his departmental trial.
The deal is also unusual because unlike in criminal court, few officer disciplinary trials at 1 Police Plaza end with a deal.
Devuono’s lawyer, Stu London, said that after the trial’s first day of testimony last month the NYPD realized it faced an uphill battle and couldn’t prove key details, such as the altitude the officer was flying at, possibly because now-retired Aviation Unit supervisors did not want to testify.
“I think they had real proof problems,” London said.
The NYPD refused to say why it bargained with Devuono.
Devuono was accused of misusing a federally-funded $4 million Cessna plane in 2017, and of making improper entries in a flight log and not conducting flight surveys.
The most salacious allegation — that de Vuono, angry at a supervisor, flew a route that appeared on radar tracks as a penis — was described most delicately in an opening statement by NYPD prosecutor Kachina Brock.
“The airplane was maneuvered in a manner as to depict an … illustration (on the) radar track,” Brock said, without going into detail about the genitalia.
The NYPD surveillance plane was used in 2017 for secret operations to check container ships off New York City’s coast for hazardous substances or radiation that could be used in a terror attack. Devuono was part of an aviation detail whose members, according to testimony, were given false IDs and required to dress in civilian clothing when operating the plane.
London said Devuono, assigned to the 60th Precinct since he was accused of misconduct “100%” hopes to return to the Aviation Unit.
Before he was grounded, Devuono was honored for flying anti-venom to Maryland to save the life of a 68-year-old man bitten by a poisonous snake and for rescuing a woman trapped with a broken ankle on a 200-foot cliff in New Jersey.
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