There has been a serious feud in Westchester County between a town police chief on medical leave, and the acting chief. It reached a climax in recent weeks with both physical assault and verbal threats that has resulted in federal witness tampering charges against the former chief that could bring him 20 years in prison.
The US attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, stated yesterday that the two count complaint, which is for tampering with a witness and retaliation against a witness, has been charged against Joseph Krzeminski, who was the police chief in Port Chester for 20 years. Krzeminski, 61, was arrested on Monday, and was brought before the federal magistrate and released to his son on a bond of $100,000.
This dispute is made more complicated by federal investigation into $25,000 in cash that disappeared in 2012 from the evidence room in the town’s police department. It was unclear if Krzeminski was involved with the money that went missing.
His attorney, Warren Roth, noted that Krzeminski took a leave of absence from the department in August for medical reasons. He had requested that the FBI look into the missing money.The evidence that was missing also included a pound of cocaine and an assault rifle. Those two items eventually were located.
Roth said that the events are being blown out of proportion. It is clear, he noted, that some members in the department want Krzeminski to be forced to retire.
The complaint states that after the FBI started to investigate the theft from the evidence room this past summer, Krzeminski was told by officials in the village to not exercise his powers as chief until he was given authorization to start working again.
The complaint stated that Captain Telesca, who was named acting chief, told the FBI that Krzeminski had not told about the other thefts from the room.
Telesca also gave the FBI a confidential file that discussed a corruption investigation that had not been disclosed. Kreminski asked for the folder to be returned, and Telesca dd not return it.
Four days after that, Krzeminski forced himself into Telesca’s home and shouted that Telesaca was a rate and called him other names. He then threatened to fire him when he came back from his leave.
The confrontation got physical, and Krzeminski placed his hands Telesca’s body and cocked his arm like he was going to hit him. Krzeminski also called the police department that day and told someone that when he got back from leave, he was going to retaliate against Telesca and withdraw his pay.
Each charge against Krzeminski carries a 20 year sentence.
Roth stated this week that the two men had known each other socially for years, and have held the babies of each other at one time or another.