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Federal Prosecutors are Investigating NYPD officers' Drug-Planting Allegations

In 2018, officers Kyle Erickson and Elmer Pastran who worked for the NYPD issued a traffic stop in Staten Island. Everything was recorded on body camera footage, revealing the moments they assaulted Jason Serrano, the passenger recovering from abdominal surgery, and when Erickson planted marijuana in their car after murmuring, “we’ve got to find something.” They not only violate Serrano’s rights and security, but the oath they took when joining the police force. Moreover, these circumstances are not unique. Erickson has been connected to numerous other NYPD findings involving drug invoice discrepancies.

Erickson and Pastran’s conduct had first come into the public eye in late 2018 when a Staten Island Judge halted Erickson’s testimony in a marijuana possession case involving Lasou Kuyateh. Erickson swore on the stand that he had found marijuana in the car Kuyateh was in, but his statement would be refuted when body camera footage would prove otherwise. When the officers begin to search the car, no marijuana can be seen and both admit to not finding anything. Erickson can later be heard saying “we have to find something. You know what I mean?” The body camera footage then cuts out and only turns back on when Erickson can be seen picking up a marijuana cigarette in the back seat, despite previously acknowledging not finding anything. Because of the alleged finding, Kuyateh spent two weeks in jail before being released on bail. His charges were later dropped when body camera footage surfaced. This incident occurred only two weeks before the unlawful arrest of Jason Serrano, and it is no coincidence that both traffic stops were conducted on blacks but instead illustrates the dangerous reality of racial profiling in law enforcement.

Pastran continues to work with the NYPD and Erickson was allowed to retire. They are only now being investigated by federal prosecutors, to which Serrano said, “I feel like something is getting done. It took a little while but obviously, people see the truth.” His attorney issued another statement stating, “there are few more fundamental violations of civil rights than evidence-planting, and anybody who wants citizens to trust the police should prosecute these actions with the full weight of the law.”


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