BY Thomas Tracy, NY Daily News
An NYPD Narcotics detective is in hot water for sending an old buddy a sophomoric, and potentially racist, series of texts about drinking on the job while he was in the middle of a buy and bust operation — not knowing investigators had put a wiretap on his pal’s phone, the Daily News has learned.
“Bring over a few beers,” Detective Ted Holway texted to his friend Paul Barone on March 14, 2015, as he sat in a prisoner van in Staten Island waiting for the operation to end.
The two joked about drinking beer and vodka together, never knowing detectives investigating an illegal gambling ring were watching as the damning texts cycled in, officials said.
“Stay clear of me. I’m driving drunk,” Barone wrote to Holway, according to testimony given at Holway’s department hearing Friday.
“I have a PBA card for you,” Holway, 34, responded, referring to the union courtesy card officers give friends and family members.
As he pretended to drink vodka on the job — the two never met up — Holway complained to his would-be bartender.
“This vodka is warm,” Holway texted, adding, “Do I look black?”
A month later, on April 4, 2015, Holway texted Barone again while on duty — this time to warn him about a dealer selling drugs to his step-sister.
Holway was transporting the suspected dealer, when he gave Barone the man’s name and picture, officials charge.
Detectives assigned to the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau handed the texts to the Internal Affairs Bureau as they charged Barone, 33, and his father, ex-NYPD cop Ciro Barone, 68, with participating in a $4 million illegal gambling ring. The two have since pleaded guilty to promoting gambling. Ciro Barone was sentenced to probation while his son was given a conditional discharge, according to court documents.
Holway was not so lucky.
Charged with improperly using his personal cell phone while on duty, and for divulging confidential information about the drug dealer, he was demoted to police officer.
Now facing a loss of 20 vacation days for his exchanges with Barone, Holway testified at his departmental hearing, hoping to get the penalty lowered.
“I’m very apologetic. I didn’t realize the severity of it. I was just trying to help an old friend and help his sister,” Holway said about releasing the drug dealer’s name.
Trying to explain away the earlier texts, Holway said he and Barone “were discussing drinking and old school memories.”
Holway never knew Barone was under investigation. The two hadn’t spoken in a decade, but rekindled their friendship after reuniting at a Staten Island fundraiser in 2015, he said.
“Growing up he was a good kid, but I haven’t seen him in years,” the disgraced cop said. “I’ve deleted his phone number and got rid of all the numbers of friends I haven’t seen in awhile.”
The NYPD won’t publicly release Holway’s sentence as it continues to cite Section 50-a of the state Civil Rights Law, which prevents the public disclosure of personnel records of uniformed officers.