A former New York City narcotics detective testified in court that planting drugs on innocent people in order to boost arrest numbers was common practice, the New York Daily News reports.
Detective Stephen Anderson, was indicted with other officers for planting cocaine on four men in Queens back in 2008. He is now cooperating with prosecutor’s and testifying in open court about the crooked practice of framings and false arrests, which he says is done often to reach arrest quotas and help out officers with bad arrest records.
“Did you observe with some frequency this … practice which is taking someone who was seemingly not guilty of a crime and laying the drugs on them?” Justice Gustin Reichbach asked Anderson.
“Yes, multiple times,” he replied.
The judge pressed Anderson on whether he ever gave a thought to the damage he was inflicting on the innocent.
“It was something I was seeing a lot of, whether it was from supervisors or undercovers and even investigators,” he said.
“It’s almost like you have no emotion with it, that they attach the bodies to it, they’re going to be out of jail tomorrow anyway; nothing is going to happen to them anyway.”
The city paid $300,000 to settle a false arrest suit by Jose Colon and his brother Maximo, who were falsely arrested by Anderson and other officers. A surveillance tape inside the bar showed they had been framed.
The Drug Policy Alliance, a group that promotes alternatives to the war on drugs, issued a statement calling the case against the officers indicative of larger, systematic failures.
“One of the consequences of the war on drugs is that police officers are pressured to make large numbers of arrests, and it’s easy for some of the less honest cops to plant evidence on innocent people,” said Gabriel Sayegh of the DPA. “The drug war inevitably leads to crooked policing — and quotas further incentivize such practices.”
This latest case isn’t the first time corrupt police practices and numbers fudging by the department has been exposed. A few years ago, an officer also in Brooklyn began secretly taping the activity around the department and uncovered a more sinister side to city policing.
Hundreds of hours of tape reveal how bosses threatened street cops if they don’t make enough stop-and-frisk arrests, “but also tell them not to take certain robbery reports in order to manipulate crime statistics.” The tapes also refer to command officers calling crime victims directly to intimidate them about their complaints.
According to the DPA, the NYPD has recently come under fire for the arrests of more than 50,000 people last year for low-level marijuana offenses – 86% of whom are black and Latino – making marijuana possession the number one offense in the City.