The Legal Aid Society is calling for the district attorney’s office to prosecute two Staten Island cops for allegedly “planting false evidence.”
According to reports, the incident occurred during a car stop involving four young Black men earlier this year.
According to SiLive, a letter to District Attorney Michael E. McMahon, the lawyers claims Police Officer Kyle Erickson of the 120th Precinct planted marijuana in the back seat of Lasou Kuyateh’s vehicle after he and his partner, Officer Elmer Pastran, searched the same area and already declared it clean.
The letter alleges that the officer's bodycams “revealed criminal acts and misconduct by NYPD officers planting false evidence, arresting an innocent person, making false sworn allegations and assisting in the prosecution of manufactured charges."
The officers searched the BMW, when Erickson’s body camera was shut off for more than four minutes after he is heard saying in the video, “We have to find something, you know what I mean?”It came back on to see him having "discovered" a joint.
Pastran’s camera reportedly recorded Erickson “place a small object into an area in the back of the car.”
The New York Times has obtained footage showing the officer searching the car place what appears to be a small, green plastic bag in the console. It was not clear from the video where it came from or what was in it.
"He’s putting something in my car,” Kuyateh is heard repeatedly shouting in the video.
Kuyateh was arrested and charged with criminal possession of marijuana after the Feb. 28 incident. The charges were later dismissed after the bodycam video was played in court in October.
“I expect officers be held responsible for this criminal action. I think Staten Island is entitled to that," said Chris Pisciotta, attorney-in-charge of the Legal Aid Society on Staten Island.
"We cannot condone illegal acts by police to bring false charges against members of our community.” he said in the letter.
The NYPD and McMahon’s office have already cleared the officer.
“There was no evidence that the officers conducted anything but a lawful stop, performed a consensual search, and had probable cause to arrest the defendant,” said Det. Sophia Mason of the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner for Public Information office.
“Allegations against responding officers were determined to be unfounded,” said a spokesman for the district attorney’s office.