They’re cops who can’t be trusted, prosecutors say.
In a startling accounting, the Brooklyn D.A.'s office has publicly released a list of 54 NYPD officers with credibility issues — including seven cops who prosecutors will never use as the only witness in a criminal case.
The release, following a Freedom of Information Law request from Gothamist and WNYC, comes on the heels of a similar list from the Bronx District Attorney last month.
The Brooklyn list identifies 47 cops with “judicial adverse credibility findings” in 53 cases since 2008 — meaning a judge in a state or federal case determined their testimony lacked credibility, though that doesn’t necessarily mean prosecutors find those officers too dishonest to put on the stand.
The remaining seven officers are a different story.
“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,” Brooklyn D.A. Eric Gonzalez said Wednesday. “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.”
He added, “This 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."
The Police Benevolent Association immediately blasted the list’s release, saying it would tank the careers of honest cops and ruin cases against criminals.
“It is clear that Brooklyn D.A. Eric Gonzalez has abandoned his prosecutorial role," PBA president Patrick Lynch said. “He sides with the criminals, not crime victim. He knows that truthful police testimony gets thrown out every day in our courts, often based on a judge’s whims and biases... He could have and should have fought the request to release these records. He chose not to do so.”
Though Gonzalez’s office would not say why it flagged the seven officers on its short list as dishonest, several have made headlines that proved problematic for the NYPD.
Officer Richard Danese, one of the seven, was accused alongside his partner of dumping a 14-year-old Staten Island boy in a swamp without his shoes or shirt as punishment for throwing eggs at cars on Halloween 2007.
He was indicted for unlawful imprisonment and child endangerment, but pleaded to disorderly conduct after the teen refused to testify. He was allowed to keep his shield, but personally had to kick in $5,000 on top of a $140,000 lawsuit settlement to the teen.
Another officer on the list, Greggory Gingo, was one of five cops who cost the city a nearly $1 million settlement by charging a Brooklyn man with driving while intoxicated after a cop blew a stop sign and crashed into the man’s car. A Breathalyzer showed no alcohol on the man’s breath, and his lawyer told the Daily News he never drinks.
Also on the list is Det. Niurca Quinones, who was sued three times for wrongful arrest in 2015, costing the city $250,000 in settlements. In 2016, a judge called for a mistrial in a triple-rape case after one of the victims told prosecutors the detective showed her a photo of the suspect in advance of a police lineup.
The NYPD created an “adverse credibility committee” in 2016 to review instances where cops were deemed not credible on the stand and determine if they should be investigated for criminal perjury charges, the NYPD said in a statement Wednesday.
“It is important to note that the Department does not consider every adversarial judicial finding as indicative of a credibility issue for a member of the Department,” the a statement reads. “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.”
Officers cannot appeal an “adverse credibility” finding, the NYPD said.