Already-charged Long Island official accused taking bribe for police chief promotion

HEMPSTEAD, Long Island (WABC) -- A Long Island town official is facing additional corruption charges, and this time, a deputy police chief was allegedly caught up in the scandal.

Hempstead Village Trustee Perry Pettus had been previously accused of shaking down Hispanic business owners, with prosecutors saying the 62-year-old allegedly threatened restaurant, bar and nightclub owners in the village to pay bogus fines or get shut down.

He allegedly solicited bribes from local restaurateurs by threatening to have summonses issued that would jeopardize their business, cabaret and liquor licenses, thereby forcing them out of business.

Pettus appeared in court Thursday and pleaded not guilty to receiving bribes and official misconduct.

Hempstead Village Deputy Police Chief Richard Holland, who was sworn in in June of 2018, was also charged with bribery and pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors say Holland when a lieutenant in the Hempstead Village Police Department when he met with Pettus and sought a promotion to chief.

He allegedly gave Pettus money and was promoted.

Both were released with no bail.

"I, along with the Deputy Mayor and the two other Trustees, are saddened by this new indictment," Hempstead Village Mayor Don Ryan said in a statement. "These are serious allegations, and we are committed to ensuring that the residents do not lose faith in Village government, and we will continue to work hard to maintain the residents' trust. We will also cooperate with any investigation being conducted, as we strongly believe that criminal activity has no place in Village government."

Hempstead Village Police Department Assistant Chief Patrick Cooke issued the following statement:

"We cannot comment on any pending criminal investigations. However, we are taking this situation seriously and are fully cooperating with the Nassau County District Attorney's Office as they further explore this matter."

The investigation is ongoing and the NCDA encourages anyone with information to contact the Public Corruption Bureau at 516-571-2100.

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