Drug Policy

Federal Judge Says NYPD Plagued by "Widespread Falsification by Arresting Officers"

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In refusing to dismiss a lawsuit against New York City brought by two brothers arrested on trumped-up drug charges, Brooklyn Federal Judge Jack Weinstein had some harsh words for the city's police department. From the NY Daily News:

"Informal inquiry by [myself] and among the judges of this court, as well as knowledge of cases in other federal and state courts … has revealed anecdotal evidence of repeated, widespread falsification by arresting officers of the New York City Police Department," Weinstein wrote.

He said that while the vast majority of cops don't engage in crooked practices, it was common enough to be an institutional problem.

The judge said that despite better training for recruits and tough disciplinary action for bad cops, "there is some evidence of an attitude among officers that is sufficiently widespread to constitute a custom or policy by the city approving illegal conduct."

Maximo and Jose Colon were arrested and jailed last January for participating in a drug deal with undercover officers at a Brooklyn bar. They were released—and the officers who arrested them were later indicted—when surveillance video showed the arresting officers fabricated the entire drug deal. From an A.P. story on the case last June:

Jose quickly got the tape to defense attorney Rochelle Berliner, a former narcotics prosecutor. She couldn't believe what she was seeing.

"I almost threw up," she said. "Because I must've prosecuted 1,500, 2,000 drug cases … and all felonies. And I think back, Oh my God, I believed everything everyone told me. Maybe a handful of times did something not sound right to me. I don't mean to sound overly dramatic but I was like, sick."

What the tape doesn't show is striking: At no point did the brothers interact with the undercover officers, nor did the brothers appear to be involved in a drug deal with anyone else. Adding insult to injury, an outside camera taped the undercover officers literally dancing down the street.

If it weren't for the tape, the Colons would probably still be in prison.

The Colons' lawsuit argues the incident is one of many, brought about in part by arrest quotas imposed on officers by the NYPD.

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  1. Let in some light and watch the cockroaches scatter!

  2. “I almost threw up,” she said. “Because I must’ve prosecuted 1,500, 2,000 drug cases … and all felonies. And I think back, Oh my God, I believed everything everyone told me.

    No she didn’t. But, she’s got a new job now. Come on. Who is shocked by this?

  3. Summary executions will fix this.

  4. No doubt the “law ‘n’ order” types will “solve” this by passing a new law requiring that video of police officers be automatically destroyed–unless it supports the cops’ story.

  5. It’s okay; NYC can take the $10 million from selling property seized from “other” drug dealers.

    1. That’s why they needed the forfeiture laws. The lawsuits were cutting into their kickass-toys-budget.

  6. “I almost threw up,” she said. “Because I must’ve prosecuted 1,500, 2,000 drug cases … and all felonies. And I think back, Oh my God, I believed everything everyone told me. Maybe a handful of times did something not sound right to me. I don’t mean to sound overly dramatic but I was like, sick.”

    Ah, remorse.

    Maybe she should go tell Oprah how bad she feels.

    Although I’d be infinitely more impressed if she threw herself off the George Washington Bridge.

    1. It’s time to write a book.

  7. Just another reminder that those who choose to join a state sponsored military or paramilitary organization are the very embodiment of human flotsam.

    1. What a foolish thing to say. And stentorian, too.

  8. More evidence of the government protecting and serving the shit out of us.

  9. He said that while the vast majority of cops don’t engage in crooked practices,

    And he knows this how, exactly?

    And I think back, Oh my God, I believed everything everyone told me.

    What a stupid twat.

    1. He said that while the vast majority of cops don’t engage in crooked practices…

      Calm down, RC, he has to say that otherwise he gets labelled anti-cop. No, he can’t really know how widespread the problem is.

      Will be interesting to see how all this turns out. Thanks, Radley.

    2. Probably true, and if untrue, a relatively harmless concession.

      Most cops don’t engage in crooked practices; just the straightforward repugnant ones required by their jobs.

    3. Probably true, and if untrue, a relatively harmless concession.

      Most cops don’t engage in crooked practices; just the straightforward repugnant ones required by their jobs.

    4. RC Dean, he knows this in exactly the way that Balko’s cult knows that most cops are crooked. Because everyone with mutually reinforcing beliefs pats each others’ backs and concludes it must be true.

  10. Im guessing every police department in the land is prolly facing this problem.

    RT
    http://www.web-anonymity.de.tc

  11. Notice her new job is now defending the people she once put in jail.

    Pity the prosecutor that tries these shenanigans when she is in court.

  12. But that cop in Seattle who shot the fleeing suspect was straight honest about everything on his report, right? Right?

  13. Notice her new job is now defending the people she once put in jail.

    A well-trod path. She decided it was time to trade that Chevy for a Jaguar.

    1. Alternatively, something in her personal life prevented her from ascending to the judgeship that she rightfully deserved.

  14. I’m assuming you all have guns and crack!

  15. It’s a simple matter of logic. The cops can lie and no one questions them. It is human nature to abuse powers like this. It must be endemic.

    1. We have not held state actors in the cfriminal justice system accountable for their actions for decades if ever. It should come as no surprise that the inmates are running the asylum in many cases.

      Imagine running a company where the employees can flout rules at will. You’d be broke as soon as the employees figured it out.

      Especiqally appropriate in light of this story –

      REMEMBER KATHRYN JOHNSTON!

      1. A day or two before Thanksgiving, on the third anniversary of the murder of Kathryn Johnson, Atlanta Police Chief Pennington issued an apology for the whole incident.

        Then he resigned.

        Of course, the new mayoral race that’s happening right now couldn’t possibly have anything to do with it…

  16. “an outside camera taped the undercover officers literally dancing down the street.” Did they get prison time? If so, I would like to see the dirty cop ass in jail dance.

    1. You’re new here, Mary. Welcome.

      Ok, this article is about a lawsuit (which is a civil action, not criminal charges) brought by the Colon bros against the cops. The NYDN article says only that the cops have been indicted (criminally charged), so presumably the cops’ criminal case has not yet come to trial. It’s common in cases like this to let the criminal trial finish before starting in with the civil action. That way, anything which comes up in the criminal trial is already part of the court record, and doesn’t have to be re-discovered.

      You’ll get a better reception here if you RTFA, try to understand the concepts, and comment meaningfully.

      1. I had assumed the criminal case had to be concluded before the civil case could be brought. Mea culpa

      2. You’ll get a better reception here if you RTFA, try to understand the concepts, and comment meaningfully.

        What kind of condescending bullshit is this? Are you new here? Perhaps you’ve got an auto-blindness feature that allows you to ignore all the ridiculous things that are often said by the very commenters who regularly post here. Mary, it is common courtesy to tell people like Tonio to STFU. Once you master that technique, you’ll thrive around here.

        1. Andrew, I prefer the slow kill. Fuck off so I can play. Thanks for tilting my pinball game.

          1. The pleasure was all mine.

            1. Since you pleaded guilty please click here for sentencing http://www.montrealmirror.com/….._news.html

  17. Pity the prosecutor that tries these shenanigans when she is in court.

    Why? The jury will still convict.

    If this case had gone to a jury, the Colons would be in prison right now, if the prosecutor was smart enough to split the charges. It’s not like any judge would throw the case out, just because there’s no case. And juries will vote guilty on any lesser offense, regardless of evidence. The defendants must have done something to get the cops to arrest them and the prosecutors to charge them with so many things, right?

    That’s why split charges are so common in low-evidence cases, like cop’s-word drug deals. They work. Defendants plead the lesser or get convicted of it. Always.

  18. Once again proving my belief that ALL cops are lying scum and not to be trusted. Can anarchy really be any worse than this kind of shit. I, for one, am willing to take my chances.

    1. I think anarchy WOULD be worse. What do you think all those newly unemployed cops are gonna do, get real jobs? Or go into peoples houses at night at bust up the place? (Nixon’s-Head-on-a-Robot-Style)

      It would probably level off after homeowners eradicated a good portion of the vermin after a few months, so still better in the long run i ‘spose.

      1. +10 for the Futurama reference!

      2. What do you think all those newly unemployed cops are gonna do, get real jobs?

        Half of them would. If you consider the protection racket a real job.

    2. ALL cops are lying scum and not to be trusted

      If you add some music, you might squeeze an anthem out of that.

    3. Amusingly, this is exactly the kind of broken logic that this type of cop uses to justify his actions.

  19. Is it just me or does the second link not work? I’d like to see it, but I get a message about not being able to find the server http://www.msnbc.msn.com.

  20. I’m on board with anarchy now. Between the cops, prosecutors, judges, legislatures, and executive office bastards, I trust pretty much no one in government at any level any more. That’s the Change I’m Hoping for. Thanks, Radley!

    1. Welcome to the anarcho-capitalist club, Nick. It’s an inevitable result of realizing just how corrupt the government really is, and how if you get in its cross-hairs, just how fucked you can be.

      1. The “right people” don’t exist.

  21. What a surprise, Radley Balko rehashing an anti-cop story with no new angle so his pack of mutts can chew on it a little more. Maybe he’ll give his puppies some Snausages later.
    Cheers

    1. Ed still busy sucking dirty cop dick because he likes the taste of dirty cop cock.

  22. Someone should go into a coffee shop and shoot these fuckers.

  23. While this lawsuit may or may not have merit, Judge Jack Weinstein is himself a scumbag:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J…..ontroversy

    He is one of those judges that weakens respect for the law but actively misrepresenting and manipulating it.

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