IN RE: Police Officer Rodney REYNALD

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.

IN RE: Police Officer Rodney REYNALD, etc., Petitioner, v. Raymond W. KELLY, as Police Commissioner of the City of New York, et al., Respondents.

Decided: February 14, 2006

TOM, J.P., MAZZARELLI, SAXE, NARDELLI, McGUIRE, JJ. Worth Longworth & London, LLP, New York (Howard B. Sterinbach of counsel), for petitioner. Michael A. Cardozo, Corporation Counsel, New York (Grace Goodman of counsel), for respondents.

Determination of respondent Commissioner, dated April 26, 2004, terminating petitioner's employment as a New York City police officer, unanimously confirmed, the petition denied and the article 78 proceeding (transferred to this Court by order of the Supreme Court, New York County [Faviola A. Soto, J.], entered November 9, 2004) dismissed, without costs.

Substantial evidence (see 300 Gramatan Ave. Assoc. v. State Div. of Human Rights, 45 N.Y.2d 176, 408 N.Y.S.2d 54, 379 N.E.2d 1183 [1978] ) supports the challenged findings that petitioner knowingly gave false statements in official interviews in connection with automobiles he owned or was purchasing, and committed insurance fraud in completing an affidavit regarding a stolen car.   No basis exists to disturb the credibility findings underlying the hearing officer's conclusions as to petitioner's guilt (see Matter of Berenhaus v. Ward, 70 N.Y.2d 436, 522 N.Y.S.2d 478, 517 N.E.2d 193 [1987] ).   Under the circumstances, the penalty is not shocking to our sense of fairness and, accordingly, will not be disturbed (see Matter of Kelly v. Safir, 96 N.Y.2d 32, 39-40, 724 N.Y.S.2d 680, 747 N.E.2d 1280 [2001] ).   We have considered and rejected petitioner's argument as to the substitution of a hearing officer.