New York Police Department lawyers and city lawyers are allegedly engaging in a “stunning pattern” of evidence destruction in a class-action case that accuses officers of issuing 850,000 bogus summonses to meet quotas, The New York Daily News exclusively reports.
Amid damning evidence obtained by a whistleblower, city lawyers reportedly have failed to release emails from the files of former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly or former Chief of Department Joseph Esposito relating to summons activity over the last eight years, attorney Elinor Sutton argues in new filings in Manhattan Federal Court seeking sanctions against the city.
City attorney Qiana Smith-Williams said the alleged evidence destruction was “short on meritorious claims” and that the sides had not yet “exhausted the possibility of a settlement,” writes the news outlet.
A trial in the case before Judge Robert Sweet is expected sometime early next year. The lead plaintiff is Sharif Stinson, who was issued summonses in 2010 for trespassing and disorderly conduct after leaving his aunt’s Bronx apartment, the report says. Both summonses were dismissed by a judge for legal insufficiency, which means the officer’s description of the alleged offense failed to prove probable cause, notes the report.
From the NY Daily News:
The dispute in the case comes after City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito’s call for more low-level offenders to be issued summonses instead of arrested. She also seeks the decriminalization of a slew of quality-of-life offenses [such as trespassing and disorderly conduct].
She argues the move will lead to fewer young people being sent to jail.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said in May that he’s open to a compromise that will divert “more quality-of-life offenders from the criminal process,” such as by issuing warnings or violations under the civil administrative code instead of the criminal code.
The case is being closely monitored in the aftermath of reforms to the city’s controversial stop-and-frisk cases, which disproportionately targeted Blacks and Hispanics, and resulted in the installation of a federal officer to oversee the department.
SOURCE: New York Daily News | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty