Convictions at risk as NYPD under investigation for warrantless searches
Four men were arrested in a Brooklyn recording studio on
September 15, 2012 after a group of NYPD officers could plainly
see heroin and marijuana on a table. Ecstasy, crack cocaine and
ammunition were also found after police searched the studio.
But the police, according to an NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau
report seen by the New York Daily News, may have jeopardized the
case by forcing their way into the building and conducting the
search without first obtaining a warrant.
At least seven cops are accused of moving bags of heroin from the
back of the studio to a table within sight of the entrance. They
photographed the drugs there in an effort to justify the search
under the plain view doctrine, which gives police the
authorization to supersede a warrant if evidence of criminal
activity is visible.
“These cops are corrupt. They should be off the streets,”
Reginald Sykes, one of the men arrested ten months ago, told the
Daily News. “They used illegal methods to make arrests. Who’s
to say they wouldn’t do that to a completely innocent
The department's own records indicate the internal investigation
has delayed at least nine criminal cases, spanning four similar
incidents when the Brooklyn police unit is accused of stealing
jewelry and thousands of dollars in cash.
Sykes, 24, has served prison time for burglary and assault but
told the Daily News that Officer David Grieco, one of the
investigators named in the Internal Affairs report, offered to
drop the drug charges if Sykes was able to produce a gun by
midnight on the night in question.
“He was saying, ‘Look, guys, I got 150 guns off the streets
last year. If I can get more this year, I’ll get promoted and can
transfer closer to home. Just get me a gun,’” Sykes is quoted
as saying from the Manhattan Detention Complex.
Most of the charges have been held up or dropped altogether, but
for an entirely different reason: nearly one year after the
Brooklyn raid, convictions for the four men arrested are still
“It’s a headache for the prosecutors because every time any of
the cops has to testify, they have to turn over this information,
which will adversely affect their credibility,” said Dan
Castleman, a former prosecutor in the Manhattan district
This news comes one week after a contingent of on-duty police officers in Queens were photographed wearing shirts adorned with a select Ernest Hemingway quote.
“There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who
have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for
anything else thereafter.”