In bombshell testimony at a corruption trial, a former narcotics detective said members of the New York Police Department routinely planted drugs to justify arresting innocent people, the New York Daily News reported Thursday. The NYPD did not respond to the newspaper's request for comment. Here's what you need to know about this "shocking" scandal:
What exactly did the detective say happened?
While working undercover at a Queens bar in 2008, the ex-cop, Stephen Anderson, and a colleague, Henry Tavarez, arrested four men on drug charges. Anderson, who had arrested two other suspects legitimately, says he gave the drugs to Tavarez so that he could plant them on other men and arrest them.
Why would they do such a thing?
To meet arrest quotas. Anderson says supervisors were putting pressure on Tavarez to get more results, and he was afraid he was going to get sent back to patrol duty. "I had decided to give him [Tavarez] the drugs to help him out so that he could say he had a buy," Anderson testified, according to the Daily News. Luckily for the suspects, a bar security camera showed that they had been framed. The city paid $300,000 to settle their false arrest lawsuit; the broad investigation that followed led to the arrests of eight officers.
Was this an isolated incident?
Apparently not. The judge in the lawsuit said there appeared to be "widespread falsification" in the department. Anderson said he had seen many other officers plant cocaine — a practice known as "flaking." Prosecutors made a deal with Anderson to testify in the record-tampering trial of another detective, who worked in a Brooklyn precinct, to show that such corruption isn't confined to a single squad. And the problem allegedly goes beyond narcotics — one officer told the Village Voice that street cops regularly make up stop-and-frisk reports, dubbed "ghosts," to meet monthly quotas.