Kenneth Moreno: Ex-cop faces tough reception in lockup
Disgraced ex-NYPD officer Kenneth Moreno received a brutal tongue-lashing from a Manhattan Supreme Court judge yesterday when he was sentenced to one year in jail — and he’ll face an even tougher crowd when he arrives at Rikers.
Moreno, acquitted of raping a woman who called him for help, was hit with a surprise one-year jail term yesterday for misconduct charges stemming from his return to the woman’s apartment while on duty.
He was freed late yesterday afternoon on a $125,000-bail pending an appeal of his sentence.
His high-powered defense attorney Joe Tacopina begged the judge for last-minute leniency.
“Certainly everyone knows the potential dangers that befall a police officer in the criminal justice system,” pleaded Tacopina.
But Judge Gregory Carro would hear none of it.
“You’ve undermined the role of other police officers who have to do a tough job in this city,” said Carro to Moreno.
It’s no secret cops are indeed targeted in jail, former NYPD officer Mike Codella said.
“The minute you’re in the joint everybody knows that there’s a cop in there,” he said. To other prisoners, attacking a police officer is “kind of like a feather in your cap.”
Even though Moreno would be under protective custody in jail — taking his meals and outdoor time at separate times than the other prisoners — he’s still not safe, said Codella.
“You still bump into (other prisoners) and they still see you,” he said.
And because Moreno was accused of rape, jail will be “doubly dangerous,” said Richard Lichten, a former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officer and a jail violence expert.
“It’s one thing going to jail as a former police officer,” Lichten said.
“But inmates in jail do not like other inmates who are in there for crimes against women.”
Harsher sentence for cops
Carro deemed that Moreno’s status as a former police officer actually warranted a tougher sentence. “Your attorney said you should be treated like any other defendant, but the law treats police officers differently because of their role. Crimes against police officers are treated more severely than crimes against civilians,” he said. “If you kill a police officer, it’s murder one. If you kill Joe Smith, it’s murder two.”
Guards won’t be watching
Moreno can’t even expect jail guards to watch out for him, warned Codella. “Most people are under the impression these guys are guilty. The corrections officers are not going to treat them especially nice,” he said. “They’re not going to go out of their way to do them any favors.” Moreno was kicked off the force after his conviction.
Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro.