Ever watch that show Punked on MTV with Ashton Kutcher? The NYPD narcotics squads do something that’s kind of like that. The New York Daily News reports:
A former NYPD narcotics detective snared in a corruption scandal testified it was common practice to fabricate drug charges against innocent people to meet arrest quotas.
The bombshell testimony from Stephen Anderson is the first public account of the twisted culture behind the false arrests in the Brooklyn South and Queens narc squads, which led to the arrests of eight cops and a massive shakeup.
Anderson, testifying under a cooperation agreement with prosecutors, was busted for planting cocaine, a practice known as “flaking,” on four men in a Queens bar in 2008 to help out fellow cop Henry Tavarez, whose buy-and-bust activity had been low.
“Tavarez was…worried about getting sent back [to patrol] and, you know, the supervisors getting on his case,” he recounted at the corruption trial of Brooklyn South narcotics Detective Jason Arbeeny.
Anderson worked in the Queens and Brooklyn South narcotics squads and was called to the stand at Arbeeny’s bench trial to show the illegal conduct wasn’t limited to a single squad.
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 Tavarez. A surveillance tape inside the bar showed they had been framed.
A federal judge presiding over the suit said the NYPD is plagued by “widespread falsification” by arresting officers.