Finding a scandal within the ranks of the NYPD these days is like shooting fish in a barrel — or, to update the idiom, like pepper-spraying protesters in a pen.
Every hour it seems a new story emerges, and today we have a Brooklyn crack fiend to thank for our daily fodder.
Speaking before the Brooklyn Supreme Court this week, Melanie Perez said although her recollection of an incident with a New York Police Officer she knew as “Frank” from years earlier was as bit fuzzy, she did recall some details, however — like when she performed oral sex on a cop in exchange for crack cocaine.
“What was I going to do? I did it,” she says.
Perez doesn’t remember if it was 2006or 2007, but she tells the New York Daily News that the cops came through with drugs when she was in need. She told the Supreme Court that Frank called her up, invited her over, made her smoke crack and then insisted she perform sexual acts.
“He gave me a nice piece for Christmas,” she tells them of another officer, Sean Johnson. “It was crack and it was kickin’.” Johnson was convicted earlier in 2011 for one count of corruption but was only sentenced to probation. That one charge was the lone conviction he received after 34 other charges ended in acquittal, including those stemming from similar allegations made by Perez at the time.
Frank wasn’t the reason Perez was on trial this week though, per se. Rather, Perez spoke from the courtroom to add to the ongoing trial of Jason Arbeeny, one of eight undercover officers being charged in a scandal that suggests that the coppers were planting drugs on innocent people in order to meet their arrest quotas. The force calls this practice “flaking,” and they want to prove that Arbeeny’s involvement was just the tip of the iceberg. According to Perez, she never met Arbeeny, but prosecutors want to show how corrupt the Brooklyn South Narcotics Squad really was.
Outside of the court house, Arbeeny told reporters, “Nobody saw me do anything, but my life is ruined.”
Earlier this month, former detective Stephen Anderson testified that in 2008, he and others indeed did “flake” drugs onto innocent men. That wasn’t the only time, said Anderson, who insisted that he witnessed it throughout his tenure on the force coming from officers of all ranks, including supervisors and investigators. Anderson revealed that at least once he handed over cocaine to fellow cops to be planted on bystanders in order to get their arrest numbers up. In one incident, he testified that he was concerned over how worried another officer was about being demoted. “You know, the supervisors getting on his case,” he said while discussing a fraudulent Queens, New York coke bust he helped orchestrate.
The Huffington Post writes that the city has so far spent around $1.2 million to settle claims of false arrests stemming from alleged flaking incidents.