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Oct 14 2011

NYPD cop: we arrested people on false drug charges to meet quotas

This is what your drug war has wrought, America.

A former NYPD narcotics detective snared in a corruption scandal testified it was common practice to fabricate drug charges against innocent people to meet arrest quotas.

The bombshell testimony from Stephen Anderson is the first public account of the twisted culture behind the false arrests in the Brooklyn South and Queens narc squads, which led to the arrests of eight cops and a massive shakeup.

Anderson, testifying under a cooperation agreement with prosecutors, was busted for planting cocaine, a practice known as “flaking,” on four men in a Queens bar in 2008 to help out fellow cop Henry Tavarez, whose buy-and-bust activity had been low.

Waging war on recreational pharmaceuticals, and setting quotas for police to catch a set amount of criminals for certain classes of crimes (even when crime rates are low, no less!), all for what? To keep you safe? Or to keep the for-profit prison systems in the black?

13 comments

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  1. 1
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    And this is the system Harper wants to import. Because it’s not just about keeping the for-profit prisons in the black, it’s also about keeping the populace afraid of all the scary crime so the conservatives (on both sides of the border) keep getting elected. Wouldn’t want to vote in those soft-on-crime libruls and commies after all. Before Harper came in we were this >< close to decriminalisation of marijuana. We would have had safe injection sites all across the country five years ago, and maybe, just maybe we'd be moving to decriminalise all recreational drugs. Instead we're turning into a U.S. supermax run by drug cartels and Hell's Angels. It makes me sick.

  2. 2
    bob

    Question: why did no one believe the innumerable people who were framed in this way?

    Why are we hearing about it from the cops instead of the people framed? There are cultural problems here too, which allow this sort of thing to occur.

    The legal system should tested empirically more, too. There should be some sort of gold standard super in investigation that gets used on randomly selected cases, to at least get some idea of what the error rates are. That would solve a LOT of problems in one go.

  3. 3
    Jason Thibeault

    bob: I’d guess there’s some amount of privilege involved here, where people are enculturated to believe that drug users are liars and untrustworthy, and cops are honest and true arbiters of justice. I agree that the cases that get the gold standard of justice tend to be the ones with media scrutiny, and that randomly applying that hyperscrutiny (especially shortly after the conclusion of the case, before it goes to trial or results in incarceration) would serve as a sort of quality control. This case inspected by Kilroy, as it were.

  4. 4
    Jason Thibeault

    Ibis3: hear hear. We don’t need to import that nonsense, and especially not by the backdoors like the cross-border raiding agreement Harper’s setting up.

  5. 5
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I agree with Ibis3:
    It’s not only for the prison-profit.
    It’s also to keep us very, very scared. Happy people usually demand more freedom, they see cages a something that keeps them in, scared people are OK with cages, because they keep things out.
    Think about what has happened to our civil rights around the world after 9/11 (no, that was not fabrocated, but duely exploited afterwards).
    The loss of our rights hasn’t made us safer and without the constant “terroism scare” people wouldn’t stand for it.

  6. 6
    troll

    I’m not particularly trusting of cops, and I think for-profit prisons are an abomination. That being said, I believe the most obvious reason for the quota policies is to make sure that the cops are out actively doing their jobs, the same as quotas for factory workers or salespeople. Of course, that kind of incentive structure is terrible when applied to law enforcement, but the policies strike me as being more of an incompetent management idea than a conspiracy to enrich private prisons, even if that’s the end result.

  7. 7
    Sithrazer

    I see the phrase ‘for-profit prison’ and the cognitive dissonance causes my brain to crash and I have to do a hard reset. There is so much wrong with those words in that order, I don’t even know where to begin.

  8. 8
    Dan M.

    Is the phrase “keeping for-profit prisons in the black” an intentional double entendre? It certainly is blacks that they mostly keep, for profit.

  9. 9
    Jason Thibeault

    Dan M.: Well it certainly is now.

  10. 10
    Rob

    Oh, I was about to make the same joke except I was worried it might be tasteless :-). Basically Jason’s ending line “Or to keep the for-profit prison systems in the black?” just seemed to be begging for a follow-on like “…to say nothing of keeping the black in the prison system.” But Dan M. made essentially the same gag anyway…

  11. 11
    Gavin R. Putland

    We are under a “government of laws”, not a “government of men”. But if someone can plant drugs among your belongings, and if you are then required to prove that the drugs are not yours (which you can’t), then you are under a government of men, namely of those who are willing to plant evidence. Therefore the reverse onus of proof cannot be valid in any jurisdiction. So, if you are on the jury in a drug case, and if you are told that the defendant must prove that his/her possession was unwitting, it is your civic duty to put the onus of proof back where it belongs (on the prosecution), raise it to the proper standard (beyond reasonable doubt), and hand down a verdict accordingly. More: http://is.gd/noreverse.

  12. 12
    Mitchell

    Yeah, I promise you these guys weren’t placing the drugs in the pockets of guys in suits. They would have to target people others wouldn’t believe and couldn’t afford to fight on legal grounds, so marginalized groups become the path of least resistance. “Tough on Crime” always translates to “soft on slavery.”

  13. 13
    Amanda

    how common is it for the innocent to catch the charge for living in the home and the guilty to walk? what would you classify this as? this is my case… i was working when a drug team went into my home and got my boyfriend. they came to my work and got me and took me home and then everyone in the home was arrested, but after being taken to custody he was released and i was charged for his crime. is this a common occurance? and why do things like this happen? i understand it was my home also, but why not charge him for what he did?

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