Brothers Prove Cops Wrong With Video
By TOM HAYS and COLLEEN LONG
June 13, 2009
When undercover detectives busted Jose and Maximo Colon last year for selling cocaine at a seedy club in Queens, there was a glaring problem: The brothers hadn't done anything wrong.
But proclaiming innocence wasn't going to be good enough. The Dominican immigrants needed proof.
The Story: Undercover police arrested two brothers for dealing cocaine at a New York night club. The officers claimed Maximo Colon, left, and his brother Jose sold two bags of cocaine to them. - The Truth: The brothers proved their innocence -- and laid the groundwork for a multimillion dollar lawsuit -- with a video from the club's security cameras.
"I sat in the jail and thought ... how could I prove this? What could I do?" Jose, 24, recalled in Spanish during a recent interview.
As he glanced around a holding cell, the answer came to him: Security cameras. Since then, a vindicating video from the club's cameras has spared the brothers a possible prison term, resulted in two officers' arrest and become the basis for a multimillion-dollar lawsuit.
The officers, who are due back in court June 26, have pleaded not guilty, and New York Police Department officials have downplayed their case.
But the drug corruption case isn't alone.
On May 13, another NYPD officer was arrested for plotting to invade a Manhattan apartment where he hoped to steal $900,000 in drug money. In another pending case, prosecutors in Brooklyn say officers were caught in a 2007 sting using seized drugs to reward a snitch for information. And in the Bronx, prosecutors have charged a detective with lying about a drug bust captured on a surveillance tape that contradicts her story.
Elsewhere, Philadelphia prosecutors dismissed more than a dozen drug and gun charges against a man last month when a narcotics officer was accused of making up information on search warrants...