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2 Nassau County detectives are being investigated for misconduct

Ciorra Photography

Two Nassau County police detectives are under investigation after a federal judge found they unconstitutionally strip searched a Cambria Heights man in public and then lied about it on the witness stand, a district attorney spokesperson and lawyer close to the case confirmed.

Both the New York Attorney General and the Nassau County District Attorney are investigating detectives Robert D. Galgano and Daniel P. Concannon. This is one of the first investigations conducted by the Attorney General’s new Police Misconduct Office. If either investigation finds the detectives broke the law, they could bring criminal charges against them.

The Nassau County Police Department disputed the investigation claims without providing any support.

“It’s inaccurate and I can't go further into it,” spokesperson Richard LeBrun said.

The alleged misconduct is connected to an arrest in 2018. Galgano and Concannon made a traffic stop, later testifying that they suspected the driver of hiding drugs. James Jenkins, who was a passenger in the vehicle, was told to undress and lay naked on the street while officers searched his private parts, according to court testimony. No drugs were ever found according to records submitted in court during a civil lawsuit claiming false arrest and excessive force.

In police reports and in court, Galgano and Concannon said they searched Jenkins with his consent, and for their own safety. The judge ruled these statements “farcical” and took the exceptionally rare step of fining the detectives personally for a total of $30,000.

An attorney for Jenkins said the Attorney General’s Law Enforcement Misconduct Investigation Office contacted them to ask for various records.

“They were examining both the incident of the strip search and the trial during which the officers who were involved in the strip search testified falsely,” said Ali Frick, a lawyer with Kaufman, Lieb, Lebowitz & Frick.

A spokesman for the attorney general’s office declined to comment. Nassau County Police Detectives' Association did not respond to multiple messages.

In 2022, Galgano earned $171,852 and Concannon earned $163,640. Both were promoted to detectives after Jenkin’s strip search and shortly before the trial.

Galgano and Concannon were officers in the New York City Police Department before joining Nassau Police. Galgano had 10 unsubstantiated misconduct complaints stemming from two incidents. He resigned before the second incident could be investigated.

In October, WSHU and the Gothamist reportedthat Nassau Police discovered zero “founded” civilian complaints for false arrest and excessive force over the last six years, even though the county settled dozens of lawsuits that involved allegations of those offenses. This disconnect alarmed police experts and police reform advocates.

A month later, Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said nine officers had been forced to resign, retire, or were terminated in 2022 because of their behavior, even though there had been no founded civilian complaints.

Ryder told lawmakers that the nine officers who were asked to leave was a record for the department. He added that the attorney general said two of the internal affairs punishments he imposed were insufficient. "If the AG doesn't like it, the AG overrides it and comes down with a stricter penalty,” he said.

Nassau County Police Department has long shielded itself from scrutiny, going so far as to block news organizations, civil rights groups, and even county judges and prosecutors from obtaining disciplinary records.

Of the eight investigation referrals the Attorney General’s Police Misconduct Office has closed so far, Nassau was the subject of five of them, according to its annual report.

Police reform advocates said they are glad the attorney general is taking a proactive role in investigating internal accountability and disciplinary processes in Nassau.

“The Nassau County Police Department has a pattern and culture of fostering secrecy, which is actually on full display in this case,” said Susan Gottehrer, director of Nassau’s NYCLU chapter. “False testimony and perjury by the police undermines the need to hold law enforcement accountable and it raises the likelihood that innocent people end up in jail.”

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.