Cops again accused of planting evidence, lying about informants
Stephon Johnson | 1/2/2015, 5:07 p.m.
In 2011, while caught up in a corruption scandal, former NYPD Detective Stephen Anderson testified in court that fabricating drug charges on innocent victims to meet quotas was common practice. Three years later, cops in Brooklyn are again accused of planting evidence and allegedly lying about “informants” to make gun-related arrests.
Two weeks ago, a judge in Brooklyn ordered prosecutors to produce a confidential informant that cops were accused of inventing as part of a scheme to boost the numbers of gun arrests via planting weapons on innocent men. The scenario described in court usually went as follows: a tip came in from a “confidential informant” that someone had a gun. Officers would then find a man who matches the description at a reported location, then a gun is discovered and an arrest is made.
Other similarities shared in the scenarios? Guns were found in plastic bags or handkerchiefs without a trace of the suspect’s fingerprints, and the presence of an informant wasn’t mentioned until months after the arrest. Also, none of the informants have come forward.
The recent developments have brought back the Kimani Gray killing. Last year, Gray was shot seven times by officers in East Flatbush, who claimed that the 16-year-old pointed a .38-caliber Rohm rifle at them. Eyewitnesses to the shooting insisted he was unarmed. No one was indicted.
Since 2007, at least six different individuals have been arrested under this tactic, including Jeffrey Herring, Eugene Moore and John Hooper. All were arrested by officers in the 67th Precinct, based in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. The suspects said the guns were planted by police.
Moore’s case was dismissed by a judge who questioned the credibility of Detective Gregory Jean-Baptiste, calling him “extremely evasive” on the witness stand. Hooper spent a year in jail awaiting trial and pled guilty. He agreed to a sentence of time served after the judge refused to believe officers’ version of events.
One of the officers involved in Herring’s case, Lt. Edward Babington, was involved in another federal gun case that was dismissed and led to a $115,000 settlement after a federal judge said officers had perjured themselves.
Brooklyn Supreme Court Judge Dineen Riviezzo adjourned Herring’s case until Jan. 15 and told prosecutors that the case will be resolved at that date unless they produced the informant. Prosecutors said they had found the informant but needed more time to investigate Herring’s case.