Queens Prosecutors Tracked NYPD Cops Suspected Of Lying And With Criminal Convictions, Documents Show


Queens prosecutors have been monitoring a minimum of 78 NYPD officers whose credibility have been challenged in court docket, based on paperwork obtained by Gothamist/WNYC as a part of a two-year struggle to get the knowledge launched below the state’s public information legislation.

The paperwork flag previous incidents of suspected police dishonesty and beforehand unreported particulars of officers who remained on the pressure regardless of legal convictions.

It’s the newest improvement in a string of revelations that started in 2019 when Gothamist/WNYC reported all 5 New York Metropolis district attorneys had been constructing databases to trace officers suspected of mendacity in court docket and different integrity breaches. Since then, the media group has been preventing to get entry to the information. The Queens launch is without doubt one of the greatest disclosures to date and expands on a extra restricted launch by Queens prosecutors in 2019.

District attorneys gather these information partially as a result of courts have dominated defendants have a proper to find out about data that might undermine the credibility of presidency witnesses, together with and particularly police witnesses, even when that proof might unravel a prosecution.

“From the start of her administration, [District Attorney Melinda] Katz has harassed her dedication to strengthening neighborhood belief,” stated Christopher Policano, a spokesperson for the Queens District Legal professional’s Workplace. “This (launch) is a part of that persevering with effort.”

The paperwork present an array of doubtless worrisome habits by cops.

One of many officers cited within the paperwork testified that he arrested a suspect after seeing him with what the officer suspected was a small bag of heroin. However a decide discovered the officer didn’t have the authorized justification to make the arrest as a result of he didn’t imagine the officer’s testimony that he clearly noticed a bag of medicine from his vantage level, which was one to 2 automobile lengths away.

Two detectives additionally cited within the paperwork had their credibility challenged in court docket after inconsistencies of their testimony about how they discovered an unlawful gun throughout a search warrant execution.

In each circumstances, the judges tossed out proof the police had recovered, hobbling the prosecutions primarily based on that proof.

When contacted concerning the paperwork, a NYPD spokeswoman argued that an antagonistic credibility discovering doesn’t imply that an officer has an integrity downside.

“Usually, these findings are the results of inadequate preparation for testimony of the officer or the decide substituting her notion of the info for the officer’s firsthand data,” Detective Denise Moroney stated. “Moreover, there isn’t any mechanism to enchantment a discovering of antagonistic credibility towards one in all our officers.”

The NYPD additionally stated that it evaluations such findings to determine whether or not they benefit additional investigation and self-discipline or different responses, similar to enhanced coaching and officer reassignment.

Along with exhibiting how Queens prosecutors stored monitor of officers suspected of mendacity below oath, the newly launched trove additionally yields some details about NYPD officers’ legal histories and the way little these convictions affected their careers.

For instance, based on the paperwork, one officer pleaded responsible to driving whereas below the affect in 2008. But, metropolis payroll information present the officer was promoted to the rank of lieutenant round 2018, and was nonetheless energetic within the NYPD in Queens as of final summer season.

One other NYPD officer pleaded responsible to a harassment cost in 2017 in Suffolk County. His prosecution was deferred and he obtained an order of safety towards his ex-wife, the paperwork say. As of final summer season, he was nonetheless listed as an energetic officer in Queens.

The NYPD didn’t reply to questions on persevering with to make use of officers with legal convictions.

The Queens District Legal professional’s paperwork redacted references to disciplinary proceedings and misconduct allegations investigated by the NYPD for violations of division guidelines.

However all instructed, the paperwork increase questions on prosecutors’ willingness to proceed to depend on officers who’ve exhibited a scarcity {of professional} integrity.

The Queens paperwork are the newest trickle in a response to the push nationwide from journalists for extra transparency round police disciplinary information.

In June 2020, New York’s state Legislature repealed a legislation, Civil Rights Legislation 50-a, which had stored many such disciplinary information secret for many years. A coalition of police and different unions went to court docket difficult New York Metropolis’s plans to launch the information. That struggle is ongoing.

Gothamist/WNYC secured the paperwork solely after submitting a Freedom of Info Legislation enchantment. However the disclosures usually are not complete. The DA refused to show over quite a few information on NYPD disciplinary proceedings and misconduct allegations, citing the unions’ pending court docket problem.

George Joseph reported this story for the Gothamist/WNYC Race & Justice Unit. If in case you have a tip, or for those who work or have labored in a prosecutor’s workplace, a legislation enforcement company or the courts, e mail reporter George Joseph at gjosephwnyc@protonmail.com. It’s also possible to textual content him suggestions through the encrypted telephone app Sign, or in any other case, at 929-486-4865.