New York Daily News

February 13, 2014


Brooklyn judge slams cops' testimony in gun seizure case as 'inherently and transparently false'

Judge Roslynn Mauskopf criticized Officers Konrad Zakiewicz and Javier Velez' observations in the case, in which they seized a semiautomatic handgun from Martese Price in Brownsville.



Judge Roslynn Mauskopf is not convinced by Officers Konrad Zakiewicz and Javier Velez' testimony.

In a sharply-worded decision, a Brooklyn federal judge has suppressed the loaded semiautomatic handgun seized from a suspect by plainclothes anti-crime cops whose credibility has been previously questioned by two other judges, the Daily News has learned.

Judge Roslynn Mauskopf, a former Manhattan prosecutor who later served as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, didn't pull any punches about what she thought of the testimony by Police Officers Konrad Zakiewicz and Javier Velez.

“The Court finds the officers' observations, particularly those of Officer Zakiewicz, inherently and transparently false,” Mauskopf wrote in a 24-page decision issued Wednesday.

Mauskopf stated that she reviewed the findings of Federal Judges John Gleeson and Raymond Dearie who found the cops' testimony implausible in separate cases involving gun seizures.

"The Court need not even resort to the officers' seriously damaged credibility to find their testimony here lacks honesty," Mauskopf wrote.

The cops seized a loaded .380 semiautomatic handgun, like this one, in Brownsville last February.

The cops seized a loaded .380 semiautomatic handgun from Martese Price last February in Brownsville.

Defense lawyer Kannan Sundaram argued that the officers fabricated the circumstances leading them to stop and frisk Price. The cops claimed they suspected Price was packing a weapon because he appeared nervous and they spotted a heavy object in his pants pocket.

Mauskopf reviewed a post-arrest photo of Price and found that his pants pocket was obscured by the oversized sweatshirt he was wearing and there is nothing unusual about carrying an object that makes a pocket sag.

She also found it unbelievable that neither Zakiewicz nor Velez mentioned their suspicion that Price was armed to each other or their supervisor in the unmarked car.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch fired back at the judges' judgment: "What gets lost many times in the quiet of a court room is that New York City police officers are trained observers who are skilled in spotting illegal weapons. Another gun is off the street because of the professional work of trained police officers, but the offender may still walk away scot free and that is unconscionable."