FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
NYPD Officer Indicted for Perjury for Allegedly Falsely
Claiming Burglary Suspect Tried to Strike Him and His Partner with Vehicle
Swore He Saw Suspect Back Up and Almost Hit PO’s Partner,
Then Drive Forward and Narrowly Miss Hitting Officer
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, today announced that a New York City Police Department officer has been indicted for perjury, making a false written statement and official misconduct for allegedly lying in a criminal court complaint and in the grand jury and for allegedly falsely arresting an individual.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “We allege that this police officer’s actions led to an individual being falsely accused of crimes that he did not commit. All of us who work in law enforcement rely on the truthfulness and integrity of our police officers – it is integral to our commitment to safety and equal justice. We will now seek to hold this officer accountable.”
Commissioner O’Neill said, “The dedicated police officers of the NYPD make a solemn pledge to abide by the greatest standards of conduct, and uphold the law. If an officer fails to meet those standards, they must be held to account.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Police Officer Michael Bergman, 34, who has been an NYPD officer for approximately six years and who is currently assigned to the NYPD’s Grand Larceny Division. He was arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun on an indictment in which he is charged with one count of first-degree perjury, one count of second-degree perjury, one count of making a false statement and one count of official misconduct. The defendant was released without bail and ordered to return to court on August 7, 2019.
On February 1, 2019, Officer Bergman and his partner, who were assigned to the Grand Larceny Division, were on patrol on 65th Street between Second and Third Avenues in the confines of the 72nd Precinct, according to the investigation. They pulled up in their unmarked police car alongside the vehicle of a burglary suspect whom Officer Bergman recognized who had just parallel parked with the intention of arresting him for driving without a valid license.
After stopping their unmarked police car alongside the suspect’s car, both officers exited their vehicle. Officer Bergman allegedly claimed in a criminal complaint and in grand jury testimony that the suspect then backed up his car, nearly striking his partner who was located near the rear of the vehicle, then drove the car forward, causing Officer Bergman – who was directly in front of the car between its headlights — to dive to the ground to avoid being hit as the suspect drove away. Officer Bergman allegedly claimed he suffered slight abrasions to his elbow as a result of his fall to the ground.
The suspect was arrested two days later and charged with various counts of attempted assault and reckless endangerment relating to this February 1, 2019 incident and separately charged with two unrelated burglaries. He was subsequently indicted for what occurred during the February 1, 2019 incident on one count of first-degree attempted assault, one count of attempted assault on a police officer, one count of first-degree reckless endangerment, two counts of second-degree attempted assault, one count of second-degree reckless endangerment, one count of third-degree assault, one count of third-degree attempted assault, one count of third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, and one count of unlicensed operator.
On May 28, 2019, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office obtained video surveillance footage that depicts the February 1, 2019 incident and contradicts Officer Bergman’s account of what occurred. The footage shows his unmarked police car pull alongside the burglary suspect’s car after the burglary suspect’s car completes parallel parking against the curb and then shows the suspect’s car drive off when Officer Bergman and his partner exit their vehicle without ever backing up and without coming close to striking Officer Bergman, who was never in front of the suspect’s car and who did not move out of the way of the car or fall to the ground as he allegedly claimed when the suspect drove away.
The case was investigated and is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney James Aliaga, of the District Attorney’s Law Enforcement Accountability Bureau, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Patrick L. O’Connor, Bureau Chief, and Assistant District Attorney Christopher Eribo, Deputy Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney Joseph Alexis, Chief of Trials, and Executive Assistant District Attorney Tali Farhadian-Weinstein, General Counsel.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.