Ex-Cop Bombshell: "We Plant Drugs to Make Quotas"

By Jed Bickman 10/13/11

Former NYC narc squader admits that framing innocent people on drug charges is all in a day's work: "You have no emotion with it."

Ex-cop Stephen Anderson on trial in 2009. photo

A former New York City undercover detective, Stephen Anderson, may have lost a few friends on the force after his testimony last week in a corruption scandal that led to the arrest of eight narc squad cops. Testifying for the prosecution in a plea agreement, the former NYPD detective testified yesterday that it is common practice to plant drugs—known as "flaking"—on innocent people in order to meet arrest quotas. Anderson was busted for planting cocaine on four men in a Queens bar in 2008, to help out another cop whose arrest numbers were low. “It's almost like you have no emotion with it, that they attach the bodies to it," he said nonchalantly to a stunned Brooklyn courtroom. "They're going to be out of jail tomorrow anyway—nothing is going to happen to them.” Yet not only does cocaine possession in New York carry with it a fine up to $500,000 and a minimum four-month jail sentence, it also can stain a person’s record forever, making it difficult or impossible to find employment or to apply for public housing—making it unclear why police would thing that “nothing is going to happen to them.” Just ask the Colon brothers. In 2008, Anderson and his partner were caught on surveillance video dancing on the street in front of the bar in Queens. Then, they arrested four men, including Jose and Maximo Colon. The officers later lied in their court testimony that they had bought drugs from the men. The Colon brothers swore under oath that it didn’t happen, and two hours of surveillance video show no contact between the brothers and the officers, prompting the prosecution to drop the charges and begin to investigate the police. In the six months that it took for the Colon brothers to find justice, they lost their business and all their savings. The city paid a $300,000 settlement to the Colons for false arrest. 

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Jed Bickman is a journalist and copywriter living in the greater New York City area. He is the associate editor at The New Press. You can find him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.