Brooklyn DA's Office Latest To Release A List Of Cops It Doesn't Want Anywhere Nears Its Prosecutions

from the permanently-uninvited dept

The trickle of "Brady lists" continues, further enraging New York City's police unions. The last batch of cops considered too dishonest or crooked to be called on to testify in court led the Sergeants Benevolent Association to claim the Bronx DA's release of its "naughty list" was an attempt to "smear honest, hardworking cops."

It was a super-strange claim to make about cops that were too dishonest to be allowed in court, suggesting the SBA felt misconduct and perjury were just part of everyday police work. It's a stretch to call a list of cops even prosecutors don't trust a smear attempt. These reputations are already besmirched. The only difference is that the public now knows, rather than just Bronx prosecutors.

Another list of bad cops has been released to Gothamist. This one comes courtesy of a public records request sent to the Brooklyn DA's office.

Brooklyn prosecutors, complying with a Freedom of Information Law request from Gothamist/WNYC, have released the names of dozens of officers whose credibility has been called into question.

[...]

The list includes 53 cases, some of which are sealed, between 2008 and 2019 in which officers had their testimony discredited or called into question by state and federal judges.

Unlike the release by the Bronx DA, no officers' names have been redacted, allowing Gothamist to retrace the shady footsteps of some of the officers listed in the document [PDF]. Some have already been named in multiple lawsuits. Others have had their truthfulness questioned by judges during prosecutions as their testimony diverged from official reports and narratives under judicial examination.

The list given to Gothamist appears to be more complete than other versions given to Brooklyn defense lawyers, suggesting the DA's office hasn't been completely forthcoming about bad officers in the past.

The DA's office also tried to get out ahead of the unavoidable police union blow-back by stating this release was not an "indictment" of "thousands of dedicated officers." It's a bad apple list, in other words. But this wasn't enough to prevent the head of the SBA from issuing another nonsensical statement.

Ed Mullins, President of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said the DA's priorities are misplaced. “The Brooklyn DA has a long history of bad prosecutions,” Mullins said. “What are they going to do about that? It’s hypocritical.

I guess whataboutism will have to do in lieu of a real argument.

Even though this list is one of the more complete lists released to the public, it's still not everything. The DA's office withheld a bunch of documents that detailed further misconduct by additional officers the DA won't be allowing anywhere near a courtroom.

Citing the controversial state statute 50-a, which shields police misconduct records, and a consultation with the city’s Law Department, the Brooklyn prosecutors declined to release another list, containing Civilian Complaint Review Board complaints, NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau records, and other credibility findings by judges and Brooklyn prosecutors themselves. The DA said that list includes “attorney notes” and other records it considers to be forms of work product.

OK. Just redact/remove the "work product" and release everything else. Seems like a workable solution, even if it's going to result in there being far more than 53 cops on the shit list. Untrustworthy cops being relied on to put people in jail is enough of a "public interest" that it should overcome the office's presumption of opacity.

It's not just the cop testifying against you in court. It's the cops that arrested you, booked you, and helped create the official narrative. There are plenty of enablers just as unworthy of trust as the cops that made the final cut on the DA's "naughty list." They shouldn't be shielded from public scrutiny just because their misconduct overlaps their personnel records. Unfortunately, state law covers up for bad cops with this exemption and it's unlikely the multiple, very vocal, and very powerful police unions in the state will ever allow this to be taken off the books.

Still, it's a positive step forward for accountability. Prosecutors have almost always sided with cops by refusing to release these lists to the public. Many go further, refusing to create the lists in the first place, ensuring their prosecutions aren't impeded by judges or defendants questioning the honesty of the officers on the stand.

Filed Under: brady list, brooklyn da, naughty list, police


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 3:55pm

    Here's the story of a prosecutor

    Who was bringing in some lovely LEOs

    All of them had hair of gold, like their mother

    The youngest one in curls

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whoever, 18 Nov 2019 @ 3:56pm

    "bad apples"

    What's that saying about "one bad apple"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 4:03pm

      Re: "bad apples"

      Like one pirate, one user who commits libel, etc.

      Ruins the whole platform/publisher.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 5:46pm

        Re: Re: "bad apples"

        We're comparing apples to pirates now?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 8:42pm

        Re: Re: "impotent apples"

        Like one bad Jhon who threatens to rape everyone in the room.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2019 @ 7:58am

          Re: Re: Re: "impotent apples"

          He means someone pretending to be the person he thinks he's dissing by deliberately misspelling their name.

          This would be an interesting precedent for slandering an alias if the slander is used to chill the alias from revealing who it is as that would trigger libel actions for the stuff that slandered the alias.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2019 @ 5:44pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "impotent apples"

            Alias? You mean the alias you haven't used for months and literally nobody outside you cares about, except to use as a punchline?

            Yeah, I'm sure the police are losing sleep over that...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2019 @ 9:09pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: "impotent apples"

            This would carry a lot more weight if you didn't try to post as multiple Blue Bloods characters using the same IP address, genius.

            Did you secure the rights to quote those copyrighted word combinations by the way, John Smith?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2019 @ 9:23pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "impotent apples"

              Ordinarily that would have been classified under fair use.

              But "fair use" doesn't exist in Jhon Smith's world.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 2:47am

            This would be an interesting precedent for slandering an alias if the slander is used to chill the alias from revealing who it is as that would trigger libel actions for the stuff that slandered the alias.

            Or it would be if people typically revealed their aliases after using them…which would defeat the whole goddamn purpose of using an alias in the first place.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 8:21pm

      Re: "bad apples"

      Well if you're a police union I think it's something along the lines of '... Might happen in other professions but you won't find any in our ranks, ever, and no amount of so called 'evidence' will ever change our minds on that.'

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 4:02pm

    Today's prosecutors are a disgrace, present company excluded, for not backing cops.

    Now pass the potatoes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 4:07pm

    We swore to tell the truth, honestly

    Honestly, the dishonesty claim by the Brooklyn DA's office is dishonesty in itself. Those supposedly dishonest cops are so honest that they honestly represented to us that they were absolutely honest about being honest and that the claims of dishonesty were dishonestly presented. They also averred that the particular instances where the claims of dishonesty were actually honest attempts to assert the honest truth. That they were claimed to be dishonest, was a dishonest assertion that what they say happened vs what we said happened was a dishonest attempt to make false claims against our honesty, despite what the videos show. Honestly, we can't be more honest, and that 's the honest truth.

    So say numerous affidavits by the New York City's police unions, mysteriously identical.

    /s

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 4:10pm

    "Work product" might mean "the ones we're investigating and don't want to tip off" or "the ones we haven't decided whether or not to charge yet".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Norahc (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 4:31pm

    SBA must actually stand for Serious Bullshitting Association

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 5:47pm

    one former Brooklyn ADA was a horrible bully in school.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 6:09pm

    “The Brooklyn DA has a long history of bad prosecutions,” Mullins said. “What are they going to do about that? It’s hypocritical.”

    As a member of the public I challenge Mullins to not back down and go ahead - release a list of prosecutors that the cops don't want near their operations.

    Me knowing a list of cops who would fuck me over is a good thing. Me knowing a list of prosecutors who would do the same thing? Even better. It means the public now knows a bunch of cases where the legal department were overzealous, unethical, dubious, etc.

    Seriously, it's like these fuckers don't even know their own playbook. Trust and a good reputation hasn't been how the police operated for a long time. It's assume the worst, escalate, and claim immunity after shooting unarmed people in the back. I'd actually suggest that they use the Trump defense of "I could shoot someone in 5th Avenue and nobody would prosecute" excuse because aside from a public backlash they already don't care about, nothing would happen...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Rattran (profile), 18 Nov 2019 @ 6:31pm

      Re:

      We know what would happen. They charge them with jaywalking for falling in the street, and charge them for the cost of the bullets used to shoot them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 6:46pm

        Re: Re:

        Well, that goes without saying.

        I mean "nothing" as in "nothing that affects the cops' bottom line in any meaningfully unfavorable way".

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2019 @ 12:38pm

        Re: Re:

        They charge them with jaywalking for falling in the street, and charge them for the cost of the bullets used to shoot them.

        Cop: "He fell toward me! I was clearly threatened and in fear for my life!"

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2019 @ 7:03pm

    “The Brooklyn DA has a long history of bad prosecutions,”

    Uh, and who fed them those cases?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Christenson, 19 Nov 2019 @ 9:23am

    Crowdsourcing

    Time to start crowdsourcing this... just like there's a crowdsource operation for reports of misbehaving Uber drivers.

    These "brady lists" are really abstracts from a vast collection of otherwise public records. We just need to advertise, the victims will let us know.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    bhull242 (profile), 19 Nov 2019 @ 9:50am

    Missing the point (as usual)

    “The Brooklyn DA has a long history of bad prosecutions,” Mullins[, President of the SBA,] said. “What are they going to do about that? It’s hypocritical.”

    Dude, the DA’s office didn’t release this list of questionable cops because of their priorities or completely voluntarily. These documents about bad cops were specifically requested by a journalistic outlet in a FOIA request, so they were just complying with the request as required by law.

    The reason they didn’t release info about bad prosecutors or prosecution is because no one sent a FOIA request for documentation relating to such.

    If it’s about the mere existence of such documentation on cops with no apparent equivalent on prosecutors, well first, what evidence do you have that similar documentation on bad prosecutors doesn’t exist? (True, it probably doesn’t, but we don’t know that for sure.) Again, no such documentation was released because it was never requested, which is not strong evidence of its nonexistence.

    Second, Brady lists like these are done to improve the prosecutors’ ability to secure convictions that are less likely to be overturned. Without them, cases may be lost due to impeachment of key witnesses (in this case the cops) when more trustworthy witnesses may be available. Alternatively, if the defense doesn’t receive this information to impeach the witness, then the conviction may be overturned under Brady. If the defense does receive that info but fails to act on it, then the conviction may be vacated to be retried on the grounds of incompetent representation (assuming the defendant isn’t pro se). So these lists just help make the State’s case stronger by removing witnesses that are known to be easy to impeach from the case where plausible. It’s just more practical that way. By contrast, it is exceedingly rare that the prosecutor will be impeached (or something similar) in a criminal trial, unless that particular prosecutor has a conflict of interest, but that’s case-specific, not solely on the prosecutors’ reliability or such. There aren’t any similar situations where the prosecutor can be deemed non-credible in a case such that it weakens the prosecution in some way like there are for cops who provide testimony. In general, past dishonesty on the part of prosecutors doesn’t generally affect later cases involving such prosecutors the way that past dishonesty on the part of police witnesses may affect later cases in which such cops testify.

    Also, most criminal cases (besides, perhaps, for white-collar crimes) will involve at least one cop provide witness testimony and/or affidavits at some point during trial; indeed, this is often required, if only to testify about the arrest and detainment, and possibly about jurisdiction. Very, very few cases (criminal or civil) involve a prosecutor testifying on the witness stand or writing an affadavit on their own behalf.

    In other words, the two things aren’t all that similar, and there was no particular reason for the DA’s office to present documentation on prosecutorial misconduct.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    R/O/G/S, 19 Nov 2019 @ 10:45pm

    EXACTLY

    RE: It's not just the cop testifying against you in court. It's the cops that arrested you, booked you, and helped create the official narrative.

    The entire system is flawed, starting right there, at narrative.

    In sociology, labelling theory, and police “science” they pose the question “does a persons behavior fit the label, or do systemic institutional forces force the label on a person,” which is a false dichotomy, because modern high policing/ community policing is all narrative, no counter narrative.

    So, policing then is merely ritual defamation in most examples, for many corrupt reasons.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Money (profile), 20 Nov 2019 @ 2:40am

    StashBandz® Wide Running Belt Travel Money Belt Insulin Pump Be

    This is my first comment here, so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading your articles. Your blog provided us useful information. You have done an outstanding job

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.