When we warn that police officers might take an opportunity to plant evidence when given the chance, we aren’t just being alarmist. There are documented cases of police officers doing just that.
Most recently, Brooklyn prosecutors have begun throwing out nearly 378 criminal convictions, mostly low level drug and traffic offenses, that relied on 13 former NYPD officers who were later convicted of perjury and of planting evidence. These cases date back to 1999.
How common is evidence planting?
It’s common enough for NYPD to have developed slang about it. The practice is called “flaking,” and is used to help police officers meet quotas.
Sometimes the execution isn’t even very smooth. One video shows a police officer blatantly tossing a pill bottle full of marijuana into the back seat of a person’s car. Some cops don’t content themselves with planting low level drugs like weed. They plant hard drugs like cocaine or heroin. Not that it matters: even a misdemeanor arrest can utterly destroy a person’s life.
Nevertheless, it’s difficult to say just how widespread the practice really is. Planting evidence is in and of itself a crime, and as such instances have to be found and uncovered.
Planting drugs is the most common maneuver, and drug arrests are the most common result.
These issues help to demonstrate that being innocent of the crime you’ve been arrested for just isn’t going to be enough to protect you from a conviction. Juries have been brainwashed by decades of Law and Order. They tend to believe if you’re standing in front of them, it’s because you’re guilty.
That’s why it’s important to avoid trying to explain yourself in an interrogation room. You’ll just give the prosecution evidence to use against you, even if you’re innocent. They literally can turn anything you say against you.
Exercise your right to remain silent and speak to a lawyer. If planted evidence is the only thing that prosecutors have against you, then your lawyer may be able to get the charges dropped or dismissed. We are also happy to investigate a police officer’s credibility. If we can find credibility issues, we’re happy to use that information against the cop who arrested you.
Either way, you need a highly experienced criminal defense attorney to help you fight any criminal charges. These vacated convictions are good news, but we’d rather you didn’t have to wait decades to get your good name cleared.