A New York Police Department inspector took his own life after being questioned for the second time in a police corruption investigation.
Michael Ameri, 44, who was head of the Highway District, was reportedly concerned about his career after being questioned by the FBI and Internal Affairs Bureau regarding unauthorized police escorts for members of the Orthodox Jewish community, sources told the New York Post.
Ameri, a divorced father with a teenage son, shot himself in the head on May 13 in his departmental car near a suburban golf course. He was found dead at 12:42 p.m. A suicide note was not found at the scene.
The police escorts may have been given in exchange for cash and gifts. Additionally, cops may have accepted cash payments for expediting gun permits.
“They went to his station house [Thursday] to get the escort logs," a law enforcement source said referring to an alleged raid at Ameri's house by the Internal Affairs Bureau. "After that, someone called him."
During the raid, IAB officials took two years of police escort files.
“He was very distraught about the visit," another source said. "He felt his career was in jeopardy, and he couldn’t deal with the stress and not knowing when everything was going to come to a head."
Reports that the FBI questioned Ameri hours before he committed suicide were "flat out wrong," according to a New York Daily News source.
“This is really bad,” said one source. “What did the feds know that was so big that he had to take his own life?”
The head of Ameri’s police union, Roy Richter, spoke with him the day before he committed suicide to quell concerns he may have had over the investigation.
“I told him that he was not in any type of employment jeopardy,” Richter told the New York Post. “There was always that fear and concern and that worry. I thought I put those fears and concerns to rest. It’s obvious I didn’t.”
The investigation has ties to Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City because of his connection to a pair of Orthodox businessmen.
Jeremy Reichberg, 42, and Jona Rechnitz, 33, both members of the mayor’s inauguration committee, are suspected of paying cops with lavish trips and jewels in return for favors.
Ameri met de Blasio when he worked as commanding officer in the mayor’s Park Slope, Brooklyn, neighborhood.
“We are saddened to learn of the passing of Inspector Michael Ameri,” de Blasio said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”
If Ameri had faced sanctions from the results of the investigation, they would have been administrative, not criminal, according to a New York Daily News source.