Brooklyn Detective Planted Crack on Innocent Victims
In the latest blow to the scandal-plagued NYPD, a cop is convicted of planting crack cocaine on a young couple. Former detective testifies it's a "common habit."
The NYPD has yet another shocker to add to its recent catalog of corruption scandals. A Brooklyn narcotics detective was convicted Tuesday of planting drugs on a young couple. Jason Arbeeny—a 14-year veteran in the Brooklyn South unit—planted a small bag of crack cocaine on Coney Island residents Yvelisse DeLeon and Juan Figueroa back in January 2007. The innocent pair testified that they were stopped by two plain clothes cops as they drove up to their apartment building. Then DeLeon observed Arbeeny place something in the car. “He brought out his pocket,” the 35-year-old victim told the court. “He said, ‘Look what I find.’ It looked like little powder in a little bag.” At the trial Justice Gustin L. Reichbach angrily rebuked the NYPD over its slew of scandals. “I thought I was not naïve,” he said. “But even this court was shocked, not only by the seeming pervasive scope of misconduct but even more distressingly by the seeming casualness by which such conduct is employed.” Sadly, Arbeneey doesn't stand alone in his disgrace. Several Brooklyn narcotics officers have been caught mishandling drugs they seized as evidence, while hundreds of drug cases that might have been tainted by corrupt practice have been dismissed. The city has also made payments to settle civil suits over false arrests. One former detective, Stephen Anderson—who didn't know Arbeeny—testified that officers in narcotics units often planted drugs on innocent people. Reichbach also noted a list of flawed procedures and "unacceptable practices," like drugs seized as evidence not being counted or sealed until they reach the precinct. But he added that such procedural breaches “pale in significance” compared to the overall “cowboy culture” of the drug units. Arbeeny faces up to four years in prison.