Celebrity Polygraph Operator Dan Ribacoff Sent Racist Text Messages

Daniel D. Ribacoff at the set of the Steve Wilkos Show

AntiPolygraph.org has obtained copies of text messages sent by polygraph operator Daniel D. Ribacoff of New York that, while intended to be humorous, evince a deep-seated contempt of, and disdain for, black people.

Ribacoff, a member of the American Polygraph Association, performs polygraph examinations for the NBCUniversal tabloid television talk program, The Steve Wilkos Show, many of whose guests are African American.

Ribacoff sent the texts to an employee of his private investigative firm, International Investigative Group, in 2017 and 2018. Both Ribacoff and the employee are middle-aged Jewish white males.

As previously reported on AntiPolygraph.org, Ribacoff’s company, International Investigative Group, which stands accused of defrauding a client out of millions of dollars, holds a contract with the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority Police Department (MTAPD) to conduct pre-employment polygraph screening of applicants.

A complaint currently pending before the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleges racial discrimination in connection with a polygraph examination conducted by Ribacoff’s company on Jonathan Kyle Carter, a black New York Police Department (NYPD) officer who in 2020 sought to transfer to the MTAPD.

The racist texts Ribacoff sent include:

An image with the caption, “When your GPS says ‘turn right on to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd'” depicting locking car doors, raising windows, and loading a revolver. (Sent on 16 June 2017 at 1:29:56 PM EDT.)

An image of a black man carrying a white man with the caption, “When you can’t carry a gun because of a felony… but you found a loophole.” (Sent on 24 June 2017 at 9:59:48 AM EDT.)

An image of the Disney version of the Winnie-the-Pooh character Tigger on top of the head of a black boy with the caption, “You’ve heard of Elf on the Shelf, now get ready for.” (Sent on 15 September 2017 at 12:18:24 PM EDT.)

An image of a black man in a cardboard box with the caption, “When you’ve got $9.34 left in your bank account and you have to start practicing being homeless.” (Sent on 7 February 2018 at 8:26:27 PM EST.)

An image of a “Black Monopoly” board where apart from “Jail,” every square reads “Go to Jail.” (Sent on 18 February 2018 at 12:46:51 PM EST.)

An image of a blonde white woman pointing a pistol with the caption, “THE UNITED STATES IS THIRD IN MURDERS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD. BUT IF YOU DISCOUNT CHICAGO, DETROIT, WASHINGTON, AND NEW ORLEANS, THE UNITED STATES DROPS TO FOURTH FROM THE BOTTOM ON THE SAME LIST. COINCIDENTALLY, THESE FOUR CITIES ALSO HAVE THE TOUGHEST GUN LAWS IN THE UNITED STATES.” The fact-checking website Snopes rates these claims as “mostly false.” (Sent on 20 February 2018 at 1:04:23 PM EST.)

Immediately following this, Ribacoff texted, “What do those 4 cities have in common? A high concentration of Rachet Schvartzas!” “Schvartza” is a Yiddish pejorative term for black people. (Sent on 20 February 2018 at 1:04:24 PM EST.)

Another image Ribacoff sent suggests an anti-Mexican bias. It depicts former U.S. president Donald Trump placing his hand in a crevice at the Western Wall in Jerusalem with the caption, “No, this is no good. You could fit a Mexican child through here.” (Sent on 7 February 2018 at 1:14:02 PM EST.)

Ribacoff also expressed a pro-Jewish bias, writing to his Jewish employee, “👌🏻jews stick together.” (Sent on 31 March 2018 at 2:42:43 PM EDT.)

The attitudes displayed in these messages call into question Ribacoff’s suitability to be responsible for the polygraph screening of MTAPD applicants or indeed, of anyone. (Not that anyone should be subjected to polygraph screening. As we explain in our free book, The Lie Behind the Lie Detector, polygraphy is a pseudoscientific fraud that is inherently biased against the truthful, yet easy for liars to beat.)

In response to a request for comment e-mailed to Daniel Ribacoff, his attorney, Michael D. Cassell of Hogan & Cassell LLP, replied:

This Firm represents Mr. Ribacoff. I am in receipt of your October 2, 2021 email to him regarding text messages that Mr. Ribacoff supposedly sent. Mr. Ribacoff has absolutely no recollection of sending the text messages referenced in your email. In addition, it is my understanding that the messages were obtained by you from individuals with whom Mr. Ribacoff is presently engaged in litigation. Significantly, Mr. Ribacoff vehemently disputes the veracity of any and all claims by these individuals, seriously undermining the authenticity and legitimacy of the referenced emails.

Email from Michael D. Cassell dated 3 October 2021

AntiPolygraph.org is confident of the authenticity of each of the text messages reproduced in this article and notes that Daniel Ribacoff did not deny having sent them.

The Steve Wilkos Show did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

As previously reported on AntiPolygraph.org, in 2019, Steve Wilkos Show guest Anca Pennington attempted suicide after Dan Ribacoff falsely accused her of lying when she denied having burned her infant daughter with cigarettes. When confronted on Facebook with documentation that the child had not in fact been burned but had a ringworm infection, Ribacoff at first defended his polygraph results, but later deleted his remarks.

In 2018, Steve Wilkos Show guest Jesse Wayne Perkins passed a polygraph “test,” presumably administered by Dan Ribacoff, in which he denied having killed a 15-month-old child. But Perkins later confessed to the killing and is currently serving a life sentence. The Steve Wilkos Show responded by removing video of this episode from its YouTube channel.

Steve Wilkos himself has publicly stated that he would never take a lie detector test.

SDPD Adds Questions About Hate Crimes and Biases to Pre-Employment Polygraph Process, Acknowledges 50% Failure Rate

Left to right: Captain Rudy Tai, Assistant Chief Keith Lucas, Lieutenant Steve Waldheim

At a meeting of the San Diego City Council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee held on 16 June 2021, Captain Rudy Tai of the San Diego Police Department (SDPD) mentioned that the pre-employment polygraph screening process now includes questioning about hate crimes and racial bias. As part of a “Recruitment and Retention Update” Tai told the committee:

As far as our polygraph update, what we notice is we meet with our polygraphers—our polygraphers are in-house—we meet with them once a quarter, just to make sure that we’re all on the same page. As we see issues coming up nationwide, take for example we wanted to make sure we were capturing questions in the polygraph that have to do with hate incidents, hate crimes, any biases a person may have, any associations they may have—on social media—make sure we capture that within the polygraph process.

San Diego Councilman Raul Campillo

In response, Councilmember Raul Campillo asked:

I do have a question about the one slide put—about the steps that go through—the polygraph test. I’m just curious what questions are asked on the polygraph test.

SDPD Lieutenant Steve Waldheim responded without actually disclosing precisely what questions are asked:

So, regarding the polygraph, they ask a plethora of questions. So, they actually break it down into four different categories, and they break it down into drugs, serious crimes, again what we added there was pertaining to any uh racial uh anything to that, that uh basically any bias, things like that, so they ask just about anything and everything on the polygraph. So they cover a lot. Usually it takes at least two hours to go over with a polygrapher, um, and they ask just about everything. And they reiterate, again, with our background detectives, we meet with them before, and we have pre-polygraph interview with the background detective. They go over all the questions, again, and they are getting asked on the pre-investigative questionnaire and the personal history statement. So we ask just about everything. And then they confirm that on the polygraph with them hooked up on the machine.

Councilmember Campillo responded:

Okay. Understood. I’m glad to hear that issues of the bias, it, whether they’re racial, social, gender, of all sorts, I, I, I’m glad to hear that. It’s a concern of mine, and we’ve be—know we want to continue to, to find and prevent folks who do have those sorts of biases from being able to be part of law enforcement just because of how much—how important the role is in criminal justice. I was gonna ask if—when we have a police officer transfer from a different department, from a different agency, maybe I should say, into SDPD, do they go through that same polygraph test as well?

To which Lt. Waldheim replied:

Yes sir, they do. They all go through the same polygraph. They all go through the same background investigation.

On 20 June 2021, AntiPolygraph.org co-founder George Maschke wrote to Councilmember Raul Campillo regarding the inadequacy of Lieutenant Steve Walheim’s reply and asked, among other things, whether he would support polygraph screening of applicants for employment with the San Diego city attorney’s office (his former employer):

Dear Councilmember Campillo,

I write for AntiPolygraph.org, a non-profit, public interest website dedicated to polygraph policy reform. I listened with interest to the discussion of polygraph policy at last week’s meeting of the Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee and am preparing to publish an article that will quote your question about that.

At that meeting, you expressed satisfaction with Lt. Steve Waldheim’s reply that the police department’s polygraph screening process includes questions about racial bias. However, Lt. Waldheim actually dodged your question with generalities. You had asked him what questions are asked on the polygraph test. He didn’t actually tell you what questions are asked.

AntiPolygraph.org published the precise questions asked on the SDPD pre-employment polygraph examination two years ago:

https://antipolygraph.org/blog/2019/06/22/sdpd-polygraph-screening-documents-disclosed/

It appears that the question, “Have you ever committed any serious crime?” remains unchanged, with the exception that its scope, which is discussed with the subject during the pre-test phase, has been expanded to include hate crimes (which it previously did not). The following SDPD graphic shows the areas that were previously covered by this question:

https://antipolygraph.org/documents/sdpd/Serious%20Crimes%20UPDATED%20Map.pdf

A question not raised at last week’s meeting is whether SDPD should be relying on polygraph screening at all. In 2002, the National Academy of Sciences completed a thorough review of the scientific evidence on polygraphs and found polygraph screening to be completely invalid and advised against its use by federal agencies.

You should also be aware that polygraphy is vulnerable to simple, effective countermeasures that anyone can learn and that polygraph operators cannot detect. You’ll find such countermeasures explained in Ch. 4 of our free book, The Lie Behind the Lie Detector.

In view of polygraphy’s scientific shortcomings, do you support the SDPD’s reliance on it to screen applicants? If so, why?

And if you do support the SDPD’s use of polygraphs on applicants, would you also support a polygraph screening requirement for those seeking employment with the city attorney’s office? If not, why not?

I will be happy to address any questions you may have regarding the foregoing.

Sincerely,

George W. Maschke, Ph.D.
AntiPolygraph.org
Tel/SMS: 1-202-810-2105 (Please use Signal Private Messenger or WhatsApp)
Wire: @ap_org
E-mail/iMessage/FaceTime: antipolygraph.org@protonmail.com
Twitter: @ap_org

Councilmember Campillo did not resond to our inquiry.

San Diego Councilman Stephen Whitburn

At the same meeting, Council President Pro Tem Stephen Whitburn asked about attrition in the hiring process, in response to which Lt. Waldheim stated:

…a little over 50% fail the written exam, then 15% will fail the physical aspect, then when it comes to the PIQ, the pre-investigative questionnaire, we lose about half of them at that step, because then they’ll be disqualified for some reason or another… Then our polygraph examination, we lose about 50% on that aspect. However, even though we lose fifty percent, the majority of the failures actually have new disclosures, which then tells us that the polygraph test is doing its job, catching people in a lie.

The 50% pre-employment polygraph failure rate mentioned by Waldheim is not unusual among governmental agencies with a pre-employment polygraph screening requirement. Given that polygraphy has no scientific basis, it is inevitable that many honest applicants are being falsely branded as liars and wrongly disqualified from employment.

Waldheim’s claim that the majority of those who fail make “new disclosures” should not be uncritically accepted. Polygraph operators are typically rated on the basis of their confession rates after a failed “test.” They are thus incentivized both to seek admissions and to amplify their significance.

Waldheim’s use of the weasel words “new disclosures” suggests that not all such disclosures are necessarily admissions to having lied on the polygraph.

Racial Discrimination Alleged in New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Polygraph Screening

An applicant for employment with the New York State Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police Department has filed a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint in connection with a pre-employment polygraph screening “test” administered by that department. Anthony M. DeStefano reports for Newsday. Excerpt:

An NYPD officer from Nassau County trying to get a job with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority police is accusing the agency of racial and disability discrimination in a government filing.

Jonathan Kyle Carter, 29, of Uniondale, alleges in a complaint that a conditional job offer he received from the MTA to join its police force in late 2020 was rescinded after he took a polygraph test.

Carter, a five-year NYPD veteran, claimed in his filing with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that the MTA used polygraph tests to “suppress the hiring of African American (Black) police officer candidates. “

“This racially motivated invidious discrimination is done to facilitate a covert policy and procedure by MTA that denies black candidates equal opportunity, among other reasons, in favor of white applicants with family already employed by the MTA, that is nepotism, at the expense of the constitutional rights of black candidates,” Carter alleged in his filing.

His attorney, Peter Crusco of Farmingdale, said the EEOC will investigate the case and either decide to mediate the matter or give Carter the right to sue the MTA for discrimination.

A spokesman for the MTA said in a statement that as a matter of policy the agency doesn’t comment on personnel matters or “matters of pending litigation or that could become litigation.”

EEOC official said under federal law they can’t confirm or deny whether any complaint is filed.

In the filing, Carter said that he completed several parts of the MTA police application process, including an interview on Jan. 13, 2020. He said he was given a conditional offer of employment for a police officer position on Nov. 3, 2020. The employment was conditioned on a medical exam and the polygraph test, he said.

In an interview with Newsday, Carter said that he wanted to switch to the MTA police because it offered a better work schedule and better quality of life. Carter, who works for the city’s Transit Police, has 43 arrests with the NYPD, records show.

Carter said that during the polygraph exam he mentioned to the examiner that he had been diagnosed with “White Coat Syndrome,” a condition in which he gets nervous in any kind of clinical situation.

“My heart and my blood pressure goes up, so usually when I take any kind of medical exam I usually fail the initial one,” said Carter.

The polygraph examiner then became hostile when Carter mentioned White Coat Syndrome, telling him it wasn’t a real medical condition, Carter’s filing said. 

On Dec.11, 2020, after the polygraph test, Carter said he received notification from an MTA employment manager that the agency was rescinding its offer because of the results of the polygraph test. 

Based on the polygraph result, “the MTA had determined that you do not meet the requirements of the MTA police officer position, ” the letter from the agency stated, according to the EEOC complaint.

Polygraph screening provides government agencies perfect cover for unlawful discrimination in hiring. A suppressed study by the federal polygraph school showed innocent blacks failing the polygraph at a significantly higher rate than innocent whites.

Oklahoma Police Applicant Files Polygraph-Related Suit

Martin Mull of the Edmond Sun reports in an article titled “Moore officer says she [sic] being truthful.” Excerpt:

A Moore police officer said she does not understand how she could have failed a polygraph test about no prior drug use during an interview process in Edmond.

That was the reason Etta Maytubby said she was given for not being hired by the Edmond Police Department in 1999. However, as a former college basketball player, Maytubby said she had to submit to random drug tests and never failed one.

Maytubby filed a lawsuit July 16 against Edmond Police Chief Dennis Cochran alleging that the city of Edmond “has a municipal custom and practice of racial discrimination,” according to court documents.

Maytubby, who is black, alleged in the suit that the police chief and other unknown officers who made up an interview committee to hire police officers, denied her employment because of her race and her female gender.

Maytubby said the main issue she recalls that police said prevented her from being hired was failing questioning about drug use on a polygraph test administered to applicants.

“I played four years of college basketball at (the University of Oklahoma) when we were part of the Big 8 (conference). We were required to have random drug testing when I played,” Maytubby told The Sun this morning.

She said she underwent at least two random drug tests during her years at OU, and did not fail any drug testing.

“I grew up playing basketball and went on to play in college. College athletes are treated very well, so I never experienced any type of discrimination playing ball. So when this happened, it was very shocking to me,” Maytubby said.

Maytubby said when she was notified she would not be hired because she failed the drug questioning on the polygraph, she called Cochran and volunteered to do whatever was necessary to show she did not use illegal drugs, including hair follicle testing that she said clearly proves whether a person has used illegal drugs in the past.

“But he said, ‘No, I don’t want to take the chance, just let it go,'” Maytubby said.

Maytubby, 28, spent one year playing professional basketball for the Richmond Rage of the American Basketball Association, before coming back to Oklahoma to pursue a career in law enforcement. She has been a patrol officer with the Moore Police Department for 18 months.

Polygraph “tests,” which are subject to polygrapher manipulation of outcomes and which may be scored subjectively, provide a perfect cover for racial discrimination in hiring.