Thursday, July 2, 2009

Man Charged with Placing Fake 911 Calls

Two NYPD Hurt Responding to Report of Injured Officer

A Queens man has been charged with making a series of false 911 calls over the past four months during which he claimed that police officers were being held hostage or had been shot. In one case, officers from the 102nd Precinct were injured after getting into a traffic accident while en route to a call.

Alex Rodriguez, 50, of 75-20 Bell Boulevard was arraigned last week on charges of first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree criminal nuisance and third-degree falsely reporting an incident. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison and was ordered held on $10,000 bail until his next court hearing on July 7.

According to the criminal charges, Rodriguez made approximately 20 phone calls to the city’s 911 emergency telephone line from pay phones in Queens between February 22 and June 20 of this year. He allegedly told the operator that a specific police officer or detective had been shot, killed, struck by a vehicle or was being held hostage. During the calls, Rodriguez often used police parlance and codes such as 10-13, which means an officer is down and needs assistance. All of the calls were deemed unfounded by responding officers.

“Prank calls to police jeopardize the lives of officers and civilians alike, waste resources and keep police officers from dealing with real emergencies. Those who place such calls will be vigorously prosecuted,” said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

In once instance, two officers assigned to the 102nd Precinct in Richmond Hill were injured when responding to an alleged 911 emergency call seeking assistance for a fellow officer. Traveling at a high rate of speed in bad weather conditions, the officers sustained injuries when the vehicle struck a metal pole.

“Fake 911 calls kill. They can kill officers who respond to what they believe is an actual emergency, and they kill real victims deprived of life-and-death seconds wasted on fakers,” said NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

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