N.O. officer indicted on bribery charge

A New Orleans police officer was arrested Thursday night and suspended without pay after an Orleans Parish grand jury indicted him on a bribery charge earlier in the day, police said.

Officer John Ray is accused of accepting cash payments totaling $600 between 2010 and 2011 from a towing company in exchange for allowing only its drivers to haul away heavy equipment in a designated city tow zone, police spokeswoman Remi Braden said in a news release.

At the time, Ray worked in the police Towing and Recovery Unit and allegedly turned away another towing company that wanted the same work, the news release says.

Another officer learned of the deal and reported it to his supervisor, who reported it to the Public Integrity Bureau, the news release says.

The bureau investigated and turned over its findings to the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s office, which presented the case to the grand jury, the news release says.

Ray, who has been with the department 37 years, was reassigned to the Juvenile Division on Dec. 31, 2011, which is when the investigation began, the release says.