NY Cop Caught Allegedly Planting Weed on Suspects for a Second Time

A pair of New York City police officers are once again in hot water with the public after newly-released body camera footage shows the cops clearly planting cannabis in a car before making an arrest. The footage of illegal police malpractice — which was released this week, two years after the stop occurred — came just months after the exact same officers were caught on camera planting false cannabis evidence in a separate car.

The new video, which was obtained exclusively by The Intercept, shows Staten Island NYPD officers Kyle Erickson and Elmer Pastran stopping a car, telling the driver and passenger that they smelled weed, and demanding the two get out of the car so they can search it. 

And while Serrano’s case alone may seem like enough to keep Officers Erickson and Pastran off the street and put into jail cells of their own, the cops were actually caught planting cannabis as evidence during another traffic stop just two months before Serrano’s arrest. The victim in that instance, who was also detained for narcotics possession, has since filed a $1 million lawsuit against the NYPD. Despite clear video footage of the officers planting false evidence in at least two separate cases, both Erickson and Pastran are still on the force, patrolling the same Staten Island neighborhood.

New York legislators and citizen advocates have for years tried to tamp down the power of the NYPD, especially when it comes to minor, non-violent offenses like cannabis possession. But as the world continues to change dramatically in the face of the growing coronavirus crisis, departments across the country — including major east coast cities — have taken a hands-off approach to policing. The recent changes have been pitched as ways to protect officers, but with arrest stoppages for most misdemeanor and non-violent crimes in places like Philadelphia, the new cop directives will also protect thousands of citizens from the police. Similarly, newly detected calls of COVID-19 inside of America’s prison system have led to loud, encouraging calls for widespread prison reform in the interest of safety, including the release of all cannabis offenders.

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