Special to the AmNews
Last Friday, Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson announced that his office is investigating six NYPD officers on suspicion of planting guns on innocent people to pad their arrest records and fulfill department quotas.
The investigation is being launched after prosecutors dropped a weapons case involving a man who had been charged with possessing a gun near his Brooklyn apartment. Others have also stepped forward, claiming to have been framed by New York’s finest in similar scenarios.
Last year, cops from the 67th Precinct in East Flatbush arrested Jeffrey Herring, 53, claiming that they had been alerted by an informant and “he fit the description of a suspect” who had a gun.
Although a gun was found nearby in a plastic bag, police could not link it to Herring because his fingerprints were not found on the gun. Charges were dismissed when police could not produce the informant, even with a court order. Although Herring was facing up to 15 years in prison, he maintained his innocence for more than a year and a half, refusing to take a plea deal.
“I dreamed of this day,” he stated upon receiving the news. “I knew I didn’t do anything.”
At least five other cases were presented under similar curcumstances, which raised suspicions.
“We will investigate the arrest of Mr. Henning and other arrests by these officers because of the serious questions raised by this case,” commented Thompson.
Debora Silberman, the public defender representing Herring suggested, in court papers, that the cops concocted criminal informants and may have been motivated to make false arrests to satisfy quotas. She also claimed that they may have been pocketing the $1000 reward money offered to informants by the Operation Gun Stop program, which is meant to get guns off the streets.
An NYPD spokesman stated that investigators from the Internal Affairs Bureau were looking at officers’ conduct in these cases.
“Any allegations that are made in regards to the credibility of the officers are taken very seriously,” Silberman added.
Officers allegedly involved include retired detective Gregory Jean-Baptist, Lt. Edward Babington, Sgt. Vassilios Aidinio, Officer Jean Gailard and Officer Victor Trojano.
Since taking office 10 months ago, Thompson has vacated 10 cases for wrongful convictions under his predecessor Charles Hynes. He told reporters, “I inherited a legacy of disgrace with respect to wrongful convictions.”