Parker’s job with the police led the case to be referred to the Internal Affairs unit. Deputy Chief of Patrol John Hunter, who was not in the unit’s chain of command, directed that the case remain assigned to the 7th Precinct. Hunter had been instrumental in creating the Police Department job for Parker, according to the district attorney’s office, and he and Flanagan were frequent guests at expensive lunches and dinners hosted by Parker’s father, Gary, for high-ranking members of the department and other law enforcement agencies. Gary Parker also donated large sums of money to the Nassau County Police Department Foundation, Rice said.
On May 23, 2009, according to the D.A.’s office, Hunter asked the school administrator’s nephew, a police officer, to try to persuade her not to press charges, but he refused. In an email exchange a week later, Gary Parker requested that Hunter get the Police Department to “lay low” on the investigation into his son. Hunter responded that he would make sure that was done.
Hunter then directed Detective Sgt. Alan Sharpe to have the stolen property returned to the school on June 15, 2009, Rice said. Sharpe dispatched a detective to do so the following day, but the school administrator refused to sign a withdrawal-of-prosecution form, and the property was returned to the precinct.
Gary Parker contacted Flanagan a few days later to ask for his assistance, according to Rice. Through that July and August, she said, Flanagan worked with Sharpe to coordinate the return of the stolen property to the school administrator and to prevent Zachary Parker’s arrest, with Flanagan assuring the Merrick teenager’s father in an email that he had “no doubt about the outcome.”