Former NYPD Inspector Howard Redmond Admits to Repeatedly Obstructing DOI Investigation and Tampering with Evidence
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr., today announced the guilty plea and sentencing of NYPD Inspector HOWARD REDMOND, 58, for obstructing a New York City Department of Investigation (“DOI”) probe into former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s use of his security detail by repeatedly impeding investigators and tampering with evidence. REDMOND, who was the chief of Mayor de Blasio’s security detail, pleaded guilty to two counts of Tampering with Physical Evidence; two counts of Obstructing Governmental Administration in the Second Degree; and two counts of Official Misconduct. As part of his guilty plea, REDMOND was terminated from the NYPD, admitted to his conduct in a sworn Affirmation submitted to the court, and issued an apology to DOI. He was sentenced to a conditional discharge and will be required to fulfill ten days of community service.
“Inspector Redmond engaged in a clear and brazen pattern of obstruction and tampering throughout the entirety of DOI’s investigation,” said District Attorney Bragg. “Position and rank do not exempt anyone from cooperating and participating with a law enforcement investigation, and we will continue to hold accountable any public official who thinks the rules do not apply to them. I thank our prosecutors for their diligent and thorough investigation into this matter, and to DOI for their critical assistance and partnership.”
DOI Commissioner Jocelyn E. Strauber said, “Former Inspector Redmond deliberately obstructed an active DOI investigation, ignoring repeated requests for his cell phone and then purposefully deleting critical text messages. Today’s guilty plea and sentencing underscore his serious criminal conduct and reflect a complete disregard for his sworn oath as a police officer. The Manhattan District Attorney’s prosecution of Redmond is a powerful statement that no one is above the law.”
As admitted in his guilty plea, beginning in January 2014 REDMOND oversaw Mayor de Blasio’s Executive Protection Unit (“EPU”). In August 2019, DOI began investigating allegations that Mayor de Blasio had misused security detail resources. In late 2019 and early 2020, DOI sent the NYPD multiple requests for documents, including emails and text messages, that were shared with REDMOND. On multiple occasions, REDMOND stated he did not have any documents responsive to DOI’s specific request, but did not take any action to determine whether responsive documents existed before making this representation.
In January 2021, DOI sent a broader request to NYPD for all text messages and other communications between specific members of the security detail and City Hall personnel, including Mayor de Blasio. Again, these requests were shared with REDMOND, and he took no steps to provide responsive records, either at that time or in the following months.
In May 2021, City Hall attempted to collect REDMOND’S City-Hall-issued cell phone during its efforts to comply with DOI’s requests.
On July 19, 2021, after REDMOND had ignored repeated requests to turn in this phone, DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett e-mailed the NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Legal Matters to personally seek assistance in obtaining REDMOND’S phone, writing, “after more than two months of requests from both the [City Hall] Counsel’s office and your office, the Inspector still has not provided his phone.”
The next day, the Deputy Chief of the NYPD’s Intelligence Division ordered REDMOND to turn over his City-Hall-issued phone. That same day, REDMOND handed the phone in, but had deleted text messages from the device, including texts with members of the security detail. He did not inform NYPD Legal that he had deleted the messages, nor did he mention he had previously activated an auto-deletion setting that erased messages after 30 days.
When the full phone data was extracted and compared with other EPU phones, DOI discovered thousands of text messages missing from his device.
DOI then asked REDMOND to turn over a separate NYPD-issued phone. On July 29, 2021, after communicating with NYPD Legal several times about DOI’s request, REDMOND gave the phone to an EPU detective. He directed the detective to bring it to the NYPD Information Technology Bureau (“ITB”) and exchange it for a new phone. Under standard ITB protocol, all data is erased from the original phone, including text messages and other messaging data, when it is turned in.
On August 3, 2021, REDMOND had the EPU Detective provide his new phone to NYPD Legal. REDMOND did not inform anyone else that he had swapped out the original phone containing the messaging data that DOI had been requesting for months.
After DOI’s review revealed that the phone REDMOND turned in contained no data prior to July 29, 2021, DOI uncovered the phone swap and recovered the original phone before the data on it had been erased. Data extracted from the original phone showed that REDMOND had previously turned on a 30-day auto-deletion setting and had also manually deleted messages.
In October 2021, DOI issued its final investigative report and referred REDMOND’s conduct to the Manhattan D.A.’s Office for possible criminal prosecution.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant D.A. Samantha Dworken under the supervision of Assistant D.A. Nick Viorst (Chief of the Police Accountability Unit). Senior Investigator Michael Greenwood and Investigative Analysts Alessandro Getzel and Rivka Zimm also assisted with the case.
At DOI, the investigation was conducted by Assistant Inspector General Matin Modarressi, Inspector General Juve Hippolyte and Senior Inspector General Eleonora Rivkin.
D.A. Bragg thanked DOI for its assistance throughout the Office’s investigation.
Suffolk County, New York
- Tampering with Physical Evidence, a class E felony, two counts
- Obstructing Governmental Administration in the Second Degree, a class A misdemeanor, two counts
- Official Misconduct, a class A misdemeanor, two counts
- Conditional Discharge