New York, NY – Controversial former New York Police Department (NYPD) Sergeant’s Benevolent Association (SBA) President Ed Mullins surrendered to federal authorities on Wednesday.
Two law enforcement officials said the former union boss, notorious for sparring with city officials and posting outrageous tweets, was expected to be federally charged on Feb. 23 for allegedly stealing from the union’s bank accounts, the New York Daily News reported.
Mullins, who was president of the SBA for 19 years until his resignation in October of 2021, has been accused of misusing union funds, according to law enforcement sources.
SBA represents about 13,000 active and retired NYPD sergeants and controls its members’ $264 million retirement fund, the Associated Press reported.
But NYPD sergeants who have worked with Mullins and been well-represented by him for years told The Police Tribune they aren’t sure that the former union boss has actually done anything wrong.
“I’m reserving judgment until we have more information,” one veteran NYPD sergeant said.
“Are they going after him for something that was previously an accepted practice?” he asked. “Is it something where they were allowed to use funds for something that were in a gray area, but now because of who it is, they’re choosing to charge him?”
The sergeant pointed out that Mullins put his head on the chopping block with NYPD brass more than once on behalf of his membership.
Another NYPD official told The Police Tribune that he doesn’t trust the prosecutors who are bringing charges against Mullins.
“The charges are being spearheaded by the same agency that couldn’t figure out the Steele dossier was bunk,” he ranted.
He went on to explain that with how politicized the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has become, and how nasty things hot gotten between Mullins and those who would undermine law enforcement in New York City in the name of “police reform, I’d like to know the full information before forming any opinion.”
But the sergeant also told The Police Tribune he thought there had to be something behind the investigation for Mullins to have resigned so quickly last fall.
Mullins submitted his resignation on Oct. 5, 2021, just hours after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raided the union’s Manhattan headquarters.
The Police Tribune obtained a copy of an email that SBA’s executive board sent to its membership that night that explained what was going on.
“This morning, as you are no doubt aware, agents with the FBI and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York executed a search warrant at the headquarters of the Sergeants Benevolent Association and the residence of President Ed Mullins,” the email began.
“The nature and scope of this criminal investigation has yet to be determined. However, it is clear that President Mullins is apparently the target of the federal investigation,” the email continued. “We have no reason to believe that any other member of the SBA is involved or targeted in this manner.”
“The SBA has and will continue to fully cooperation with law enforcement officials heading the investigation in all respects,” the executive board said in the email.
“Given the severity of this matter and the uncertainty of its outcome, the SBA Executive Board has requested that President Mullins resign from his position as SBA President. This evening, President Mullins has agreed to tender his resignation as President of the SBA,” the email continued.
Then the email asked the membership to grant the organization’s now-former president the “presumption of innocence” and asked that they withhold judgment on Sgt. Mullins while the investigation is conducted.
It was widely believed the federal investigation was linked to the ongoing probe of Mullins, who was already facing administrative charges after he criticized city leadership on social media.
Then- Sgt. Mullins filed a lawsuit in June against NYPD and the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) for violating his First Amendment rights.
In the lawsuit, the union boss accused the police department and the civilian review panel of trying to punish him for statements he made on social media, the New York Post reported.
The lawsuit alleged that NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau (IAB) has repeatedly interrogated him for tweets he posted to the sergeants union’s Twitter feed.
“Mullins objected to the interrogations on the grounds that his speech was protected by the First Amendment and that he was speaking in his capacity as SBA President on a union platform at the time he made his public statements,” the complaint read, according to the New York Post.
Mullins filed the lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan and asked the judge to stop the police department and CCRB from conducting disciplinary investigations into him, the New York Daily News reported.
The lawsuit alleged NYPD and the civilian panel were retaliating against the union boss for outspoken criticisms on social media.