Deputy Chief Richard Holland and Hempstead Trustee Perry Pettus

Deputy Hempstead Village Police Chief Richard Holland was arrested after a grand jury indicted him for allegedly bribing a village trustee for a promotion, Nassau County prosecutors said.

Richard Holland pleaded not guilty Thursday to third-degree bribery, a felony, at Nassau County court. Village Trustee Perry Pettus, who was previously arrested on other corruption charges, was re-arrested and pleaded not guilty to felony bribe receiving and official misconduct, a misdemeanor. 

“This ongoing investigation has uncovered shocking corruption at the highest levels of Hempstead Village government and law enforcement,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said. “The criminal allegations against Trustee Perry Pettus and Deputy Chief of Department Richard Holland raise serious concerns about these officials’ leadership within these institutions that serve the public and I ask anyone, especially Hempstead officers and employees, to come forward with any information that may assist this investigation.”

After three Hempstead village police chiefs retired, prosecutors said Holland, 47, met Pettus, 62, on May 14 in the parking lot behind Spices Negril Restaurant in South Hempstead, where the deputy gave the trustee cash wrapped in newspaper in exchange for the promotion.

Following the June 5 village board meeting vote, Holland was appointed as acting deputy chief of police, and was sworn-in as deputy chief on June 7, prosecutors said.

Both men were released without bail and are due back in court Dec. 4. They face up to seven years in prison, if convicted.

Pettus, a former deputy mayor of the village and owner of Hempstead Hub Towing was previously charged in three separate grand jury indictments related to bribery and extortion schemes of local business owners.

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.