FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 7, 2019
NYPD Officer Pleads Guilty to Perjury for Falsely
Claiming Burglary Suspect Tried to Strike Him and His Partner with Vehicle
Swore He Saw Suspect Back Up and Almost Hit Partner,
Then Drive Forward and Narrowly Miss Hitting Officer
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that a New York City Police Department officer has pleaded guilty to perjury, making a false statement, and official misconduct for making a false written statement and lying in a criminal court complaint and in the grand jury.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This officer’s false claims led to an individual being charged with a crime he did not commit. The criminal justice system must be able to rely on the integrity and credibility of our police officers to keep our communities safe and to ensure equal justice. This defendant has now been held accountable for his inexplicable actions.”
The District Attorney identified the defendant as Police Officer Michael Bergmann, 34, who was an NYPD officer for approximately six years and who was last assigned to the NYPD’s Grand Larceny Division. He pleaded guilty today to 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 before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun, who indicated he may sentence the defendant to up to six months in jail and five years’ probation when he is sentenced on January 8, 2020. The DA’s office asked for a sentence of one year in jail.
On February 1, 2019, Officer Bergmann 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 a vehicle that had just been parallel parked by a burglary suspect whom Officer Bergmann recognized, 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 Bergmann 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, and then drove the car forward causing Officer Bergmann – 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 Bergmann 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 Bergmann’s account of what occurred. The footage showed his unmarked police car pull alongside the suspect’s car after the suspect’s car completed parallel parking against the curb. It then showed the suspect’s car drive off when Officer Bergmann and his partner exit their vehicle without ever backing up and without coming close to striking Officer Bergmann, 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 when the suspect drove away.
The case was prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Law Enforcement Accountability Bureau by Assistant District Attorney Salvador Reynozo and Deputy Bureau Chief Christopher Eribo, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Patrick L. O’Connor, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney Joseph Alexis, Chief of Trials, and Executive Assistant District Attorney Tali Farhadian Weinstein, General Counsel.