For those who scoff at suggestions that we need to police the police, you might want to take a look at one of the latest NYPD fiascos.
The background of this case includes at least six instances where cops from New York’s 67th Precinct in Brooklyn busted people on gun charges. It was reported that in each of the cases, the officers said they received tips from an unidentified “confidential informant”, and that the information provided led to the arrest of each of the defendants.
The claim on behalf of the defendants is that the confidential informant never existed, and that the weapons seized were actually planted by the police.
Most recently, defendant Jeffrey Herring was facing weapons charges that could have landed him in prison for 15 years. Last month, the judge in the case was told that the confidential informant had been located, but prosecutors said they needed more time to investigate the arrest. The judge adjourned the case for a month, but stated that the prosecution would have to produce the informant. Last week the case was dismissed after no informant was produced, despite several orders by the judge that they do so.
The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office now states that it is investigating at least half a dozen similar cases involving the same cops as those who were involved in Herring’s arrest. An investigation is also being conducted by NYPD Internal Affairs.
Over the past several years, a number of people arrested by the same team of cops have been cleared of the charges against them. In one case, a federal judge found that an officer perjured himself. At least one of the other cases in question was dismissed after a judge said that a detective’s testimony was “incredible.”
Well, you might say that as bad as this looks for the NYPD, at least it only involved a handful of cases. But according to the public defender in Herring’s case, there could be dozens more like it.
George Vomvolakis Law Offices
275 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016