Following an April 2019 report by Gothamist revealing that district attorneys across all of New York City’s five boroughs were building secret lists of officers they did not trust (mostly due to dishonest or inconsistent court testimony), the news outlet then invoked the Freedom of Information Act to request those lists.
The Brooklyn DA’s office was the first to turn its list over early last week.
The list of names includes 47 Kings County-assigned officers in 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.
For example, in 2017, a federal judge called the testimony of Police Officer Brian Alexander not credible after Alexander explained why he stopped, chased and arrested a man for drug and gun possession. He accused Alexander and his partners of telling inconsistent stories. In another separate federal gun possession case, a judge accused Police Officer Andrew Kamna of lying to justify stopping a man named Raymond Jones. The case against Jones was later dismissed.
Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez points out that the list is not an “indictment of the thousands of dedicated officers who work in our communities and with us in partnership every day to keep the people of Brooklyn safe,” reported Gothamist.
“Officer names, including those we are barred from releasing to the public, are regularly disclosed to defense lawyers and the courts in keeping with our legally-mandated obligations,” said DA Gonzalez. “We have also publicly released the identities of police officers my office has deemed not credible and that we would never use as the sole witness in a case.”
Nor does the NYPD consider every adversarial judicial finding as indicative of a credibility issue for a member of the Department, Sgt. Mary Frances O’Donnell said in a statement: “Often, these findings are the result of insufficient preparation for testimony of the officer or the judge substituting her perception of the facts for the officer’s firsthand knowledge.”
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