A shocking video showing NYPD cops raiding a bar, smashing gambling machines and shoving confiscated cash into their pockets has become an Internet hit and led to an internal probe of the officers involved, The Post has learned.
No official determination has been made as to whether cops were simply doing their jobs during the Nov. 14, 2007, raid on Beer Goggles, a troubled bar on Staten Island, or if they had more sinister motives. But they told superiors things were done according to procedure.
One officer, who is bald and wearing an NYPD raid jacket, is seen counting cash - which sources said had been taken from the Joker Poker video game.
An undercover sergeant wearing a Yankee cap and dark jacket enters, and the bald cop hands him the stack of cash. He pulls off some bills, folds them and thrusts them into his pocket after handing back the rest - as another officer bashes the game with a sledgehammer.
Seconds later, another cop in a Yankee cap and a green hooded jacket enters. He takes the stack of bills, puts some of them into two of his pockets, then takes bills out of one of them and gives them back to the bald cop.
The raiders reported confiscating approximately $700 and arrested three workers for promoting gambling.
Charges against two were dropped. The third pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, and the vouchered cash was returned to bar owner Chris Shaffer.
The surveillance tape, which popped up on YouTube under the headline "NYPD corruption at its best," was first screened at a separate departmental trial for Sgt. William Lewis.
Anthony Radicone, the bar's landlord, had accused Lewis of alerting Shaffer that undercovers were again targeting his tavern - which had received many summonses. Many of the police actions were led by Lewis, a 24-year veteran.
The Internal Affairs Bureau investigated Lewis for five months before suspending him and leveling corruption charges in March.
Several cops from the raiding party testified against him. No decision has yet been reached.
His lawyers, Eric Franz and Tim Parlatore, introduced the tape to impeach the credibility of the raiders' testimony and to show that Shaffer could have learned the identities of the undercovers from his own videos - rather than from Lewis.
"The only thing more incredible [then the raiders' testimony] is the testimony of witnesses from Internal Affairs," said Franz. The NYPD declined comment.