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Saturday, February 23, 2008

3 sue over drug busts in Brooklyn South; claim cops faked evidence

The New York Daily News BY JOHN MARZULLI - February 21st 2008

Three men whose drug arrests were tossed because of the Brooklyn South narcotics squad scandal have sued the city, charging undercover cops faked evidence, the Daily News has learned. The mushrooming corruption investigation has prompted the Brooklyn district attorney's office to review nearly 1,000 squad arrests from the past three years - and dismiss 202 cases - spokesman Jerry Schmetterer said Wednesday.

"While some may have been legitimate arrests, the lawsuits that I've brought involve innocent people," lawyer Richard Cardinale said. Aaron Altamirano, Jonathan Robinson and Marc Delorio claim they were falsely arrested last summer and are seeking unspecified monetary damages. Two complaints filed in Brooklyn Federal Court say cops stopped Altamirano and Robinson as they drove through Bay Ridge.

Although no drugs were found, "One or more of the officers involved in the arrest falsely testified in the grand jury that plaintiffs had sold and possessed a controlled substance," the complaint states. Altamirano was indicted for criminal sale and possession of cocaine. Prosecutors dismissed the case last month, citing the ongoing probe. Robinson spent more than a week in jail before the grand jury declined to indict him.

Delorio also was arrested in Bay Ridge on what he claims were trumped-up marijuana charges. The charges were tossed in December on a motion by the prosecutor, citing the ongoing investigation, Cardinale said. Four cops have been arrested as the NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau probes the charge that undercover cops took sex, drugs and cash from suspects.

Four high-ranking supervisors in the Brooklyn South squad have been transferred in the shakeup. The suits name two detectives who were involved in the alleged false arrests, Scott Lloyd and Steven Hom. They have not been charged with wrongdoing.

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