by Douglas Ankney
Through the Freedom of Information Law, communications, memos, and correspondence were obtained that reveal the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s (“OSNP”) database has information flagging police officers with potential credibility issues.
The database purportedly contains judges’ assessments of officers’ testimony, NYPD disciplinary records, and notes about officers that the prosecutors made. But unlike the DAs from the five boroughs of New York City who released lists of officers linked to concerns about their ability to be truthful, the OSNP has refused to release all but nine disclosure letters.
Bridget G. Brennan, who was appointed to lead the OSNP, justified the refusal by citing a recent court ruling that blocked the disclosure of similar records in Manhattan, plus cited other public records exemptions.
In a statement, the OSNP said it places “great value on transparency” and claims it was only because of technical problems that records of judicial findings were not released.
However, attorney Janos Marton — a Manhattan DA candidate who has called for the abolition of the OSNP — said, “Any other district attorney is going to have to face voters and put their record before voters, but this office does not have to face voters[.] [S]o they’re able to continue with a culture that doesn’t promote accountability for police officers, and that’s likely reflected in the disclosures they’re providing now.”
One of the disclosure letters revealed that a Manhattan Supreme Court judge refused to believe that a detective had observed a drug transaction from 70 to 100 feet away across a crowded street.
In another disclosure, a federal judge discredited a detective’s testimony that a man “spontaneous[ly]” confessed to a friend’s pending marijuana deal as soon as officers approached him. The judge noted that the detective made no mention of the confession in his arrest report and that officers did not take any steps to investigate the deal.
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