NYPD Officer Wilfinger. Still shot from video. Gounden’s wife and child, to Wilfinger’s right, have been cropped out by The Black Star News.
Kris Gounden, the Queens businessman who was interviewed by detectives from the Internal Affairs Bureau says he doesn’t believe any investigation is being conducted into his allegations that an NYPD officer forced his wife into multiple sexual encounters and also “anally raped her.”
Gounden also complained of harassment by officers from the 106 precinct to the IAB. He says he was interviewed at home by two IAB detectives, Yesenia Guerrero-Schwarz and Edwin Jerez, on September 13 about his allegations. He says he also provided the detectives with a video that he says shows the NYPD officer James Wilfinger in bed with his wife. Gounden said his wife is afraid to report the police officer. “I want the department of justice to investigate. I don’t believe the NYPD can investigate the NYPD,” Gounden said.
Both Guerrero-Schwarz and Jerez did not return an e-mail message from The Black Star News seeking comment.
The NYPD in a short e-mail message in September in response to inquiries by The Black Star News for our initial report said: “The matter is under internal review.”
The NYPD has not responded to inquiries from The Black Star News about the precinct where Wilfinger is assigned.
Gounden says he was also interviewed by two investigators, Morgan Galloway and Vanessa Rosen from the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB). Both did not respond to an e-mail message seeking comment.
Gounden’s wife when contacted by The Black Star News declined to comment about most of the allegations made by her husband to the IAB detectives.
“The two detectives who interviewed me have not been in touch with me again,” Gounden says, referring to the September 13 interview by the IAB detectives. “Instead, I was contacted by phone by someone who may not even be a detective while I was in Florida recently. He claimed he was an NYPD detective investigating the case, but he may have been a rogue cop fishing for information.”
Gounden says two days after the call, his basement office in the Queens home where he lives with his 87-year-old grandmother was broken into and three computer hard drives were stolen. “I don’t think that was a coincidence,” he says.
Gounden told the IAB detectives and the CCRB investigators that Wilfinger, together with another officer first approached his wife in September 2016 in the Bayview water-front property they purchased in 2006. He claims Wilfinger had been digging for information in connection to a 2015 lawsuit he had filed against the City and Thomas Pasquale, now a deputy NYPD inspector at IAB, but at the time commander of the 106 precinct.
Gounden has alleged that he’s been harassed by officers from the 106 for years now and that he was even assaulted by one officer, Ryan Kenny, in March, 2016; he claims he lost two teeth as a result of the assault and also hurt his lower back when he was lifted then slammed to the ground. The lawsuit against Pasquale was related to what Gounden claims was a false arrest on his property. He also filed a notice of claim for the alleged assault by Kenny and he’s preparing a lawsuit, he said.
The Gounden’s purchased their water-front property with two houses valued at $800,000 about 11 years ago. The Goundens, ethnic Indians, are immigrants from Guyana. When they moved to the Howard Beach neighborhood the family faced an alleged racist attack by a bat-wielding neighbor, an incident that was widely covered by most of New York City’s media. At the time of the incident the local New York City Councilmember, Joseph Addabo Jr., now a State Senator, said it was in fact Gounden who had played the race card.
After the media coverage died down, the around-the-clock police protection initially provided to the family was withdrawn. Gounden claims that was when the campaign of retaliation began. Gounden has been arrested at least eight times by officers from the 106 on what he calls “frivolous complaints” from neighbors. The arrests have occurred between 2010 and as recent as the beginning of this year. The Black Star News has covered some of these previous incidents.
Gounden once owned four residential rental buildings that his father had transferred to him to operate, valued at $4.5 million. He claims that after the attack by the neighbor, he started getting numerous tickets for “phony violations” on his commercial buildings and residential property from various New York City and State agencies — including the Department of Buildings (D.O.B); the Department of Environmental Protection (D.E.P.); the Department of Transportation (D.O.T.); the Department of Environmental Conservation (D.E.C.); the Department of Sanitation (D.S.N.Y.); the New York Fire Department (FDNY); and, the U.S. Coast Guard. (Gounden has documented these encounters with photographs and audio recordings).
The fines for the hundreds of alleged violations eventually amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars and the City started withholding rent for all his Section 8 tenants, he claims. Gounden eventually lost all his properties through foreclosures. “Someone made a decision to destroy me and my family and my business just because we reported that we were the victims of a racist attack more than 10 years ago,” he says. “Someone just couldn’t stand the fact that a person of color could work hard and save enough money to own property.” He claims he is owed $1.4 million in total unpaid rent through the years.
Gounden claims the current case IAB interviewed him on involves Wilfinger’s actions after the September, 2016 visit to his Bayview property. He claims the officer coerced his wife into having multiple sexual encounters.
Gounden says he hired a private detective to monitor Wilfinger. He claims Wilfinger took his wife, who had never drunk before, to bars in the Queens neighborhood near the Bayview property on multiple occasions, got her intoxicated and sometimes engaged in sex in parking lots. “I gave the IAB detectives the names of the bars. I hope they recovered and secured the surveillance videos,” he says. “My wife is a hostage of officer Wilfinger, who had a gun when he met her, and has had a gun every time they were together.”
Over the years there have been numerous news articles about sexual attacks against civilians by police officers including here in New York with the NYPD.
Gounden confronted Wilfinger on at least two occasions at his Bayview home –in December 2016 and January 2017– and videotaped him twice, including when he was in bed with his wife and then three year old son. (The Goundens have two other children, aged 11 and 10). During the second incident, on January 1, 2017, Gounden claims he fled when Wilfinger pulled a gun on him. Gounden says he provided the IAB detectives with a copy of the video showing Wilfinger, wearing only dark underwear and white sox, in bed with his wife and child. He also provided a copy of the video to The Black Star News.
The NYPD did not respond to an e-mail message seeking comment when The Black Star forwarded the video.
Gounden had already been living with his grandmother in a different Queens neighborhood by the time Wilfinger first went to the Bayview property. He says he moved out because of the constant harassment by officers from the 106, multiple visits to their home by the police, and the assault by Officer Kenny. “I feared for my life and that’s why I moved to my grandma’s place,” he said. “I figure sooner or later they would kill me.”
Gounden says one early morning at around 5AM in November 2016, his wife called and asked him to come to their Bayview property from his grandmother’s home. He says when he arrived he found his wife intoxicated and in pain. “She told me that Wilfinger had anally raped her. I told her to call 911. She was afraid of him and refused,” he said.
Gounden claims he photographed the bruises on his wife’s genital area, on November 27 and again on December 4, 2016, to document the crime. He also bought ointment for his wife to apply, he said. “She could not even sit properly for awhile. I had to drive her to work that day,” he said. “Women were afraid to report Harvey Weinstein for his attacks. Imagine when the predator wears a uniform and carries a gun.”
The NYPD, the CCRB, and the IAB detectives didn’t respond to a request for comment about these allegations.
Austin Finan, a spokesperson who handles issues related to the NYPD in Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office also did not respond to an e-mail message seeking comment.
Gounden claims after he fled the bedroom when Wilfinger allegedly pulled a gun on him during the January 1, encounter, he was contacted by Officer Valerie Cincinelli, who asked him to surrender to the 106 precinct. “She ignored me when I told her Wilfinger pointed a gun at me. They wanted to arrest me instead,” he says. Gounden was later arrested by officers from the 106. He was charged with sexual abuse for allegedly inappropriately touching his step-daughter.
Gounden claims the charges are “completely concocted.” He says his 11 year old son and 10 year old daughter sleep on bunk beds but that they complain that sometimes the 22-year-old stepdaughter comes to the property with her boyfriend and forces the children to share the top part of the bed. “They do things adults shouldn’t do with children in the room,” he said. Gounden says on December 18, 2016, he confronted the stepdaughter and that the two argued over the issue. “We had a shouting incident. I never touched her,” he said. “Instead of arresting Wilfinger or even asking me to show them the video of Wilfinger in bed with my wife, officers from the 106 concoct these attempted rape charges as coverup.”
Gounden’s wife signed an affidavit dated Feb. 5, 2017, stating that on “December 18, 2016, my daughter did not make any complaints to me about being assaulted or contact (sic)” and that in the past she had filed “several false police complaints..” The affidavit was also signed by Gounden’s mother in law, Sati Mohan, who also lives at the property and was home when the argument occurred, Gounden said.
Gounden’s wife in a short phone conversation with The Black Star News said she wasn’t home when the alleged sexual abuse incident occurred. She said she spoke with her daughter but declined to say what she told her. “He will have to subpoena me,” she said, of her husband, abruptly hanging up soon after.
When The Black Star News sent her an e-mail message with detailed questions about the allegations about Wilfinger that Gounden made to the IAB detectives and the CCRB, including the incident when she was hurt, she did not answer the questions or dispute the account; but sent a cryptic e-mail message response, presumably directed at her husband and the charges brought against him by the Queens County DA that he claims are concocted: “I wonder what’s the penalty for trying to frame an officer to cover up for your crimes. When you find out please let me know. Thanks.”
She did not respond to another e-mail message and a text message asking for a response to the account given by Gounden to the NYPD detectives.
Gounden is due in Queens Criminal Court on Thursday, November 30 to face the alleged sex crime. Gounden also faces, on the same date, a charge in connection to shop-lifting for allegedly getting a discount he was not entitled to from a Home Depot store, in 2015. “I was arrested by officers from the 106 who apparently had been trailing me when I was buying roofing paper. I did not steal any merchandise,” Gounden said.
He claims the Queens District Attorney has asked for an adjournment 15 times. “This is pure harassment to lock me up and protect the police. Even my legal aid attorney said the file is empty and there is no evidence against me. “
The Black Star News has attended the last three court dates on Gounden’s cases, including on November 2, 2017; on each occasion, the Queens County DA has asked for an adjournment.
Gounden also sent a letter detailing his allegations against Officer Wilfinger and the 106 precinct to Queens County District Attorney Richard Brown on September 12, 2017.
The Black Star News forwarded a copy of the Wilfinger video to the Queens DA and asked if Gounden’s allegations had been investigated. Kevin Ryan, the chief of communications said “… the policy of the Queens District Attorney’s Office is to neither confirm no deny investigations. As your publication itself has noted in the past, the NYPD’s Internal Affairs is investigating the matter and, as such, you should direct your questions to them.”
On the Home Depot case, Ryan said “a plea offer has been made to Mr. Gounden at each court appearance over the past year and which he has rejected each time.”
Asked to respond to Gounden’s claim that the sexual charges were concocted, Ryan said a plea offer had also been made to Gounden on those charges.
Gounden says he fears there is an effort to undermine his case and railroad him in the courts so he ends up in prison. He said when he traveled to West Palm Beach, Florida, where his mother lives, in October, he was contacted by phone on October 20, 2017 by a man who identified himself as Detective Vargese from the 107 precinct. He said Vargese told him he was investigating Gounden’s allegations against Wilfinger and the 106.
Gounden played a copy of the interview for The Black Star News.
Gounden told Vargese about the videos he took of Wilfinger during the November and January encounters and also about the alleged anal rape of his wife. Gounden says he became suspicious when Vargese did not follow up with an e-mail message he said he would send him.
Gounden claims that on October 23, while he was still away, his basement office in the home where he lives with his grandmother was broken into and three computer hard drives stolen. A friend of Gounden’s called 911 and officers from the 106 responded to the scene but did not investigate the matter, he claims.
The Black Star News contacted the 107. Two officers at the precinct said there is no officer or detective with the name Vargese assigned to the 107.
Gounden says since The Black Star News’s first article was published Wilfinger has not been coming to the Bayview property. (A source close to Gounden says about half a dozen uniformed NYPD officers went to the Gounden property to meet with his wife shortly after the first Black Star News article). Gounden claims there is now another officer –or retired detective– named Davinder “Dave” Singh who has also been coming to his Bayview property to see his wife. “Basically, to try and shield Wilfinger, they want to make it appear like my wife hangs out with cops,” he said. “My wife never knew a single cop, never drank, and never did drugs before Wilfinger showed up with a gun to our property fishing for information. Now my wife is hostage to NYPD cops. They are trying to prevent her from speaking.”
Gounden’s wife also did not respond to a question about Singh in the e-mail message sent by The Black Star News.
(Gounden believes that Singh, now apparently sleeping with his wife, could be the same IAB detective who first contacted him in mid-January 2015 by phone in response to his complaints about officers from the 106 precinct for another alleged false arrest incident from his home in November, 2014. That IAB officer named Singh, subsequently called him several times over several months for details about his allegations about the 106 officers but no action was ever taken, Gounden alleged in a notice of claim dated January 26, 2015, that he filed and notarized, outlining his intention to sue the City and several NYPD officers. Singh was also named in that notice of Claim. The Black Star wasn’t able to obtain any information from the NYPD to confirm if the Davinder Singh now allegedly involved with Gounden’s wife is the same detective who first contacted him in 2014. When Gounden recently called the same IAB unit on Long Island City that Singh contacted him from, he was told that Singh had retired a few months ago).
Gounden doesn’t believe the police can impartially investigate his case since Pasquale, whom he filed a lawsuit against, is also at the IAB. He says he is reaching out to the Department of Justice. “My entire family are victims of crimes and our civil rights are also being violated. Just because he moved into a neighborhood where we were not wanted.”
Editor’s Note: The original story had the incorrect spelling of Officer Singh’s first name and precinct to which he’s assigned. Singh told Gounden’s mother in law that he’s assigned to the 67 precinct.