The FBI conducted a raid on Tuesday of the Manhattan headquarters of the New York Police Department sergeants union, and it also searched the Long Island home of the controversial union boss, Ed Mullins, who resigned shortly afterward.
Mullins was the president of the powerful Sergeants Benevolent Association (SBA), a union that represents about 13,000 active and retired NYPD sergeants and controls a $264 million retirement fund. A member of the NYPD since January 1982, he took over as head of the SBA on July 1, 2002. He often spoke out publicly on various issues.
Mullins is a police sergeant who was taken off of active duty so he could do the union work full-time. While the nature of the FBI raids has yet to be revealed, it is known that Mullins is in the middle of department disciplinary proceedings. He is being investigated for tweeting NYPD paperwork last year regarding the arrest of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter during protests over the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, NPR reported. Mullins’ department trial began in September but was postponed indefinitely after one of his lawyers suffered a medical emergency.
Mullins’ lawyer denied that Mullins violated department guidelines, arguing that arrest papers with Chiara de Blasio’s personal information, such as her date of birth and address, were already posted online.
Mullins is also suing the NYPD, claiming it tried to muzzle him by “grilling him and recommending disciplinary action over his online missives, which have included claims that officers were at war with city leaders,” NPR reported.
Mullins has often been in the press. An outspoken backer of President Donald Trump, he visited the White House in February 2020 and made headlines in July 2020 for giving an interview on Fox News with a QAnon coffee mug visible in the background. QAnon is a far-right conspiracy movement whose members featured prominently in attendance at the Jan. 6 Capitol riot and attempted coup and in the subsequent arrests.
The union’s board issued a statement regarding the FBI raids. “The nature and scope of this criminal investigation has yet to be determined. However, it is clear that President Mullins is apparently the target of the federal investigation. We have no reason to believe that any other member of the SBA is involved or targeted in this matter.”
FBI agents collected boxes from the SBA offices including one that appeared to hold a hard drive, and another filled with what looked like electronics equipment, The New York Daily News reported.
An FBI spokeswoman confirmed to the Daily News that the agency was “carrying out a law enforcement action in connection with an ongoing investigation” into the SBA shortly after the coordinated seizures began.
Some on Twitter seemed to celebrate the takedown of the union leader. “Ed Mullins, who famously called me a ‘first-class whore’ for daring to ask questions about the SBA, just got a first-class raid from the FBI,” tweeted Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) as word of the investigation spread.
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“I’ve long felt there’s nothing benevolent about Ed Mullins of the Sergeants Benevolent Association,” Torres later told The News. “We’ve long known he’s morally corrupt. But maybe he’s legally corrupt too. He has no business in the NYPD … He should have been fired a long time ago.”
NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio has also commented. “A lot of what he’s done has been really, really destructive — especially in the middle of a crisis where we’re trying to unify, and we’re trying to get through together. I think he’s been a divisive voice,” de Blasio said when asked about Mullins at an unrelated press conference. “All I hear is the FBI raid. I want to hear the details before I comment further.”
The mayor later tweeted, “Ed Mullins dishonored his uniform, his city, and his union more times than I can count. It was just a matter of time before his endless hatred would catch up with him. That day has come.”