Nassau County Police Commissioner Thomas Dale has been removed from his position in what is being termed a politically motivated scandal.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano issued a statement Thursday saying he had met with Dale Thursday morning after confronting him with the information and Dale submitted his resignation.
Nassau prosecutors determined that Dale "personally directed his officers to pull over a county bus in October and arrest a witness in a politically motivated election-year case," according to Newsday.
"District Attorney (Kathleen) Rice today brought a troubling matter to my attention regarding questionable influence within the Nassau County Police Department," Mangano said in the statement. "Upon further investigation, the district attorney found no evidence to indicate criminality but the investigation itself indicates a fresh look at internal procedures is warranted."
Mangano hired Dale in January, 2012. He will be replaced by Victor Politi, Mangano's deputy county executive for public safety, on an interim basis."This approach is necessary to maintain the highest standards of police internal administration. New leadership sends a clear message that stringent administrative review and application is underway," Mangano said.
Two other top police officials involved in the bus incident -- Chief of Detectives John Capece and Sgt. Sal Mistretta -- have left the department, Newsday reported. Capece retired and Mistretta resigned. Capece will be replaced by Narcotics Vice Squad Insp. Kevin Smith.
The case involved the candidacy of former Freeport Mayor Andrew Hardwick.
Randy White, 29, of Roosevelt, claimed that Hardwick was paying White $1.25 for each Hardwick signature he obtained to get the former mayor on the ballot for Nassau County executive. Hardwick's presence on the ballot could have impacted Democrat Tom Suozzi's campaign.
Petitioners legally can be paid per hour but not per
signature; Hardwick has denied the claim, according to Newsday.
White was arrested in late October while riding a bus from Roosevelt to Hempstead. He had previously failed to pay a $250 fine after pleading guilty earlier this year to selling bootleg DVDs.
Rice said Gary Melius, owner of the Oheka Castle catering hall and a Hardwick donor, requested police make the arrest on White, Newsday reported.
Political sources alleged at the time that Hardwick was recruited into the race at by Melius, who was also a close supporter of Republican Mangano. Melius and Hardwick denied the claims, according to Newsday.