A police benefactor testified Wednesday at an alleged police cover up trial that an ex-Nassau County police chief told him that he would ensure investigators would not arrest his son for burglarizing a school.
Gary Parker, whose son Zachary later landed in prison for the burglary, was referring to emails between himself and former Chief of Department John Hunter, who is slated to be tried separately from the defendant in this case, William Flanagan, the ex-second deputy commissioner.
“My attorney thinks if the PD lays low, he can have it wrapped up soon,” Parker testified he wrote in an email to Hunter after Zachary was linked to stealing $11,000 in electronics from John F. Kennedy High School in Bellmore in May 2009.
“I will make sure that is done,” Parker testified that Hunter replied in the email. Parker said he “hoped” that meant detectives would ultimately not arrest his son, which they never did. Zachary was indicted after the Press exposed the cover-up and he pleaded guilty last year.
The exchange occurred a few weeks before Parker asked for help from Flanagan, who’s pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and misconduct along with Hunter and retired Det. Sgt. Alan Sharpe, the supervisor who directly oversaw the investigation.
“Did you ask [Hunter] to use his position in the police department to help your son?” asked Flanagan’s attorney, Bruce Barket. Parker replied that he specifically asked Hunter not to tell anyone about the case because he was embarrassed.
Parker said he and Hunter were good friends and that the ex-chief had spoken with Zachary about his “emotional problems” at one point.
The accountant from Merrick who became a board member of a Nassau police nonprofit also testified that when he gave Flanagan tickets to a Yankees game shortly before the burglary, it wasn’t to curry favors in anticipation over ever having to cover up a crime.
Parker, who’s represented by Steven Scaring although isn’t charged in connection with the allegations, is expected to take the stand again Thursday for his fourth day of testimony in the three-week-long trial at Nassau County court in Mineola.