A former NYPD narcotics detective admitted in court that the practice of planting drugs on innocent civilians to meet quotas was a pretty common one.
Geez, most people assumed this practice was common for things like speeding, but planting drugs on innocent people to meet quotas? That tends to ruin a person’s life. No amount of court-mandated treatment at narcotic treatment rehabs will be of help if the person concerned was just framed as a drug user in the first place.
Somewhere out there, Bunny Colvin is shaking his head on this one.
Stephen Anderson testified at the corruption trial of Brooklyn South narcotics Detective Jason Arbeeny, courtesy of a cooperation agreement. The New York Daily News reports that he had helped police officer Henry Tavarez meet his buy-and-bust numbers by fabricating cocaine possession charges against four men arrested in a Queens bar in 2008. Tavarez’s numbers were low and he was worried about the potential ramifications.
“Tavarez was worried about getting sent back [to patrol] and, you know, the supervisors getting on his case,” Anderson told the court. “I had decided to give him [Tavarez] the drugs to help him out so that he could say he had a buy.”
Justice Gustin Reichbach asked Anderson if he observed this practice — commonly referred to as “flaking” — taking place “with some frequency,” to which he replied “yes, multiple times.” Anderson kept most of his legitimate busts to himself, because, as he explained, “as a detective, you still have a number to reach while you are in the narcotics division.”
Then, the judge questioned Anderson about any concern he had for his victims, to which Anderson responded that there was very little reflection going on at the time because the practice was so common among supervisors, investigators and undercover police.
“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,” he said.
Anderson and Taverez’s scheme was exposed when security cameras caught them framing Jose Colon and his brother Maximo. New York paid the siblings $300,000 in a false arrest suit settlement. A federal judge presiding over the suit said the NYPD’s plagued by “widespread falsification” by arresting officers.
When you’re police strategy for controlling illegal narcotics amounts to street rips and filling quotas, false arrests and planting drugs is the natural extension of those policies. There has to be a better way, though we’ll be the first to admit that our experience with police tactics boils down to five seasons of The Wire. Juking the stats does nobody any good except for the politicians upstairs.
Arbeeny is one of eight cops, including Anderson, arrested for false arrests and planting drugs on innocent civilians. Pretty shady stuff.