Six cops from Brooklyn’s 67th precinct are under investigation on suspicion of planting guns on men and fabricating informants. A Brooklyn Supreme Court judge has dismissed all charges against 53-year-old Jeffrey Herring, one of several men arrested under similarly suspicious circumstances by the group of officers, after they failed to produce a confidential informant in court. From the New York Times:
The officers claimed that they got a tip from a confidential informer that Mr. Herring had a gun. Prosecutors had been instructed to bring the informer to court on Thursday; the defense had challenged whether that informer even existed.
At the hearing, prosecutors offered no evidence or mention of that informer.
“Based upon information provided to us by defense counsel” and on the office’s own investigation, said Paul Burns, an assistant district attorney, “we do not believe at this time that we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt the charges against Mr. Herring.”
It was public defender Debora Silberman who questioned the circumstances around Herring’s case, prompting a re-examination by the prosecution in December. She and defense lawyer Scott Hechinger submitted a report to the court citing several cases in which they believed East Flatbush officers had embedded guns on men, an account published by the New York Times in December.
Had he been convicted, Herring faced up to 15 years in prison. In the cases of Eugene Moore and John Hooper, two of the other men arrested in similar situations as Herring, the men were not able to avoid jail time and each served around a year before having their charges dismissed.
The allegations against these officers have not helped the already strained relations between the local community and 67th precinct, as this is not the first time in recent memory that this precinct has been accused of fabricating gun evidence. It was in the same precinct that two NYPD officers shot and killed 16-year-old Kimani Gray in 2013 claiming he was brandishing a firearm, while an eyewitness said that she was certain he did not.
Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson told the Times, “We will investigate the arrest of Mr. Herring and other arrests by these officers because of the serious questions raised by this case.” They are reviewing “at least half a dozen cases going back to 2007.” Meanwhile, the Times’s December report has prompted the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau to investigate as well.
(Photo: Gregory Wild-Smith)