A school burglar’s father panicked and deleted emails to his high-ranking ex-Nassau Police brass buddies accused of covering up for his son after reading about the alleged cover-up in a newspaper article, the father testified Tuesday.
Gary Parker described his panic near the end of his second full day of questioning by prosecutors until the defense conducted a brief, rapid-fire cross examination before the trial was recessed. Neither side identified the April 2011 story’s authors—the Press.
“After you became aware of the article, what did you do with respect to your emails?” asked Assistant District Attorney Bernadette Ford, who also prosecuted Parker’s son, Zachary, once the alleged cover-up was exposed.
“I deleted them,” Parker responded. “I panicked.”
William Flanagan, the former second deputy police commissioner who’s pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and misconduct charges, was among the police brass who called Parker once the story hit, Parker testified. Parker then resigned from the police nonprofit to which Flanagan had recruited him.
Prosecutors have alleged that Flanagan and two other ex-Nassau police commanders being tried separately conspired to help Parker avoid being prosecuted for stealing $11,000 from John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore in May 2009. The younger Parker is now serving prison time for the thefts and other charges.
The elder Parker testified that he had asked Flanagan, with whom he had been friends, for advice in June on how to return stolen equipment in the police department’s possession back to the school, which he believed would result in the charges being dropped.
The Manhattan accountant from Merrick said he gave Flanagan a flashlight, a $3,000 Tag Heuer watch and his wife mailed the ex-cop a pair of $200 gift cards to Morton’s Steak House after Flanagan confirmed the property was returned in September 2009.
“I understood he had a close relationship with the police commissioner,” Parker said, referring to former commissioner Lawrence Mulvey, while testifying why he brought the issue up with Flanagan. Parker said Flanagan then “took it upon himself” to help ensure the property—two laptops and a projector—were returned.
Among the deleted emails between Parker and Flanagan that Ford had Parker read aloud in the courtroom was one in which Flanagan wrote shortly after the article, “Remember what I said, your family, we take care of our own.”
Bruce Barket, Flanagan’s attorney, argued that those other emails back and forth in the same chain were about Parker and Flanagan rescheduling their dinner plans—not evidence of a cover-up.
“What you asked Mr. Flanagan here…was to help get stolen property back to its owner, is that right?” Barket asked. “Yes,” Parker replied.