Hundreds of Convictions Dismissed in NYC Due to Crooked Cops
by Jo Ellen Nott
Public defenders and advocacy groups in New York City sent letters of concern to the city’s five district attorneys in 2021 about police testimony and investigations dating back several decades. The letters referenced cases in which the arresting officers’ criminal misconduct unknown at the time tainted the legitimacy of the convictions.
In the fall of 2022, several district attorneys took action to dismiss hundreds of questionable convictions. On November 17, 2022, the Manhattan district attorney’s office under Alvin Bragg sought the dismissal of 188 misdemeanor convictions going as far back as 2001. The convictions were tied to the work of eight former New York Police Department officers, sergeants, and detectives who have since been discredited.
In September 2022, the Brooklyn district attorney vacated 378 convictions linked to 13 bad cops. The previous year the Bronx district attorney worked to throw out 250 convictions stemming from one officer. The district attorney of Queens also sought to dismiss 60 cases related to officer misconduct in 2021. In Manhattan, the prosecutor’s office is still reviewing over 1,100 convictions connected to crooked cops.
The N.Y.P.D. noted that the dirty cops no longer work for the department. “There is zero tolerance in the N.Y.P.D. for corruption or criminal activity of any kind by any member of the service,” said Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell in a statement on November 17, 2022.
The former officers were found guilty of numerous charges ranging from perjury, selling a controlled substance, selling stolen police pistols to a drug pusher, unlawful searches and, in one particularly notorious case involving two officers, raping an 18-year-old woman in the patrol vehicle in exchange for her freedom. The offending officers received sentences ranging from community service to prison time of up to 15 and a half years. Top of Form
For those whose cases were cleared in Manhattan on November 17, the director of the Wrongful Conviction Unit at the Legal Aid Society declared the wrongs they suffered should never have been allowed to happen. Director Elizabeth Felber explained that incarceration, costly legal fees, and non-access to critical benefits affect a wrongly accused individual long after the original offense, many times a misdemeanor.
Ms. Felber advocates for a regular review of cases tied to dirty cops to minimize the hardships that wrongfully convicted individuals must endure.
As a digital subscriber to Criminal Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.
Already a subscriber? Login