Martin Feely, an FBI spokesperson, said that agents were carrying out "a law enforcement action in relation to an ongoing investigation."
Agents were seen taking boxes from the union's Manhattan headquarters, and loading them into vans. Feely also said that the FBI searched Ed Mullins, union president, home in Port Washington, Long Island.
According to a message sent by the union's board to members, Mullins quit as president of the union Tuesday night. According to the union's board, he did so on its request. The union, which represents approximately 13,000 NYPD sergeants in active and retired roles, has a retirement fund of $264 million.
"The nature and extent of this criminal investigation is still to be determined. It is evident that President Mullins appears to be the target of federal investigation," the board message stated. "We don't believe any other member or target of the SBA are involved in this matter.
The union's board stated that Mullins was presumed innocent and asked him to step aside in order to allow the union to continue its day-to-day operations unaffected. According to the board, the union is cooperating with the investigation.
Mullins and union received messages seeking comment. Mullins was reached by phone at a full voicemail.
Mullins is a police sergeant who has been removed from full-time union work. He was arrested last year for tweeting NYPD paperwork regarding the arrest of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter. This happened during protests against the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers.
Mullins' trial for the department began last month, but was delayed indefinitely because one of his lawyers had a medical emergency.
Mullins lawyer claims he did not violate department guidelines. He argues that Chiara de Blasio was already posting online arrest papers with her personal identifying information such as her birth date and address.
Mullins is also suing department. He claims they tried to silence him by interviewing him and recommending disciplinary actions over his online messages, which included claims that officers were at arms with city leaders.
Mayor de Blasio responded to Mullins' resignation by tweeting: "Ed Mullins disonored his Uniform, His City, and His Union more times than I can count. He would soon succumb to his hatred. It is now.
The Sergeants Benevolent Association has a Widows and Children's Fund that provides scholarships for children of members and Blue Christmas which distributes toys to children in need.
Mullins led the union's fight for better pay. The union was awarded contracts that resulted in 40% pay increases. They also held a prominent place in the anti-reform movement.
Although he is a full-time union chief and a police department sergeant, Mullins can retain his position as sgt and receive salaries from the union and police department. According to public records, Mullins earned more than $220,000 last year between them, $88,757 from union and $133195 from NYPD.
Questions about Mullins were referred by the NYPD to the FBI.
Mullins makes periodic appearances on cable news networks Fox News and Newsmax, including one where he is pictured standing in front of a QAnon mug. But the union's most powerful megaphone, aside from his frequent appearances on cable news channels like Fox News or Newsmax, is its 45,000-follower twitter account, which Mullins manages himself often to fiery effect.
Mullins suggested that in 2018, after a series of incidents in which officers were doused with water by police officers, it was time for James O'Neill, then-Commissioner, and Terence Monahan, Chief of Department to "consider another career" and tweeted "O'KNEEL must leave!"
O'Neill countered that Mullins was "a bit like a keyboard gangster", who rarely showed up at department functions.
Mullins was criticized last year for tweeting that Dr. Oxiris Barbot (the city's former Health Commissioner) was a "b ----"" and U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres was a "first-class shere."
Mullins was angry at reports that Barbot refused to hand out face masks to police during the initial days of the pandemic, and frustrated by Torres' demands for an investigation into possible slowdowns in police work in September 2020.
Gay Torres denounced Mullins tweet as homophobic.
Torres referred to that tweet on Tuesday in his reaction to the news about the raid. He wrote: "Ed Mullins who famously called myself a 'first class whore' for daring ask questions about @SBANYPD just received a first-class raid by the FBI.
Mullins was not in trouble for his tweets, but his radio interview in which he suggested that Tessa Majors, a Barnard College student, had gone to the park where Majors was killed to purchase marijuana. Three teens were later arrested by police, who claimed that she had been stabbed in an attempt to robbery.
Majors' family criticized Mullins' comments on the radio program as victim blaming. They urged him to "not engage in such irresponsible speculation public."