Margaret Garnett, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Investigation (“DOI”), announced the arrest today of a City Human Resources Administration (“HRA”) Police Lieutenant on a charge of illegally possessing a firearm. DOI began this investigation earlier this week after HRA reported to DOI that the defendant had been observed carrying a firearm while on duty at HRA.
WENDELL WRIGHT, 47, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was arrested today on a charge of Criminal Possession of a Firearm, a class E Felony. Upon conviction, a class E felony is punishable by up to four years in prison. The arrest charge is pending review by prosecutors at the Office of Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett said, “This defendant disregarded the law by carrying an unlicensed gun, conduct that endangers others and is not tolerated by the City, especially by someone charged with ensuring public safety, according to the charge. I commend HRA for reporting this serious matter to DOI.”
According to DOI’s investigation, the defendant was seen carrying a pistol in advance of his scheduled HRA shift today, May 20, 2020. The investigation found that he was carrying an unlicensed weapon, and that the weapon was loaded. In addition, HRA Police Officers are not authorized to carry firearms while on duty. WRIGHT was arrested outside his home this morning.
WRIGHT has been an HRA employee since September 2005 and is receiving an annual salary of approximately $62,320.
He was suspended from HRA upon arrest; the weapon and his badge were confiscated from him. Commissioner Garnett thanked New York City Department of Social Services (“DSS”) Commissioner Steven Banks and his staff, in particular the DSS Office of Legal Affairs, for their prompt action and cooperation during this investigation. HRA is part of DSS. Commissioner Garnett also thanked Kings County District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and his staff for their assistance in this matter.
An arrest charge is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.