Brooklyn, NY – The Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office is seeking to dismiss 378 convictions tied to investigations involving officers who were later found guilty of committing crimes while on duty.
Twelve percent of the 378 convictions slated to be dismissed are felony offenses, WNBC reported.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez touted the push to vacate the convictions as the sixth-largest mass dismissal in U.S. history.
Gonzalez said his office’s Conviction Review Unit looked into all cases that were based on work conducted by 13 New York Police Department (NYPD) officers who were later convicted of various crimes they committed while on duty, WNBC reported.
The ex-officers were convicted of offenses ranging from planting drugs to perjury to taking bribes, according to the New York Daily News.
Gonzalez said the review did not find any evidence of police misconduct in the cases he’s pushing to vacate, but noted that he no longer has confidence in cases that depended on those officers’ testimonies to secure convictions.
“These former police officers were found to have committed serious misconduct that directly relates to their official job duties, calling into question the integrity of every arrest they have made,” Gonzalez said, according to the New York Daily News. “A thorough review by my conviction review unit identified those cases in which their testimony was essential to proving guilt, and I will now move to dismiss those convictions as I no longer have confidence in the integrity of the evidence that underpinned them.”
No one is currently incarcerated in connection with these convictions, all of which stemmed from arrests that occurred between 1999 and 2017, WNBC reported.
A vast majority of the cases involved drug offenses and vehicular violations.
Gonzalez said his office began asking Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Matthew D’Emic to dismiss the felony convictions on Wednesday, WNBC reported.
The dismissal process for the misdemeanor cases will be handled in Brooklyn Criminal Court starting in October.
Gonzalez said the subjects of the vacated convictions will not be entitled to reimbursement of the fines and fees associated with their cases, WNBC reported.
Legal Aid Society Spokesperson Elizabeth Felber praised the Brooklyn district attorney’s decision, but said even more case reviews need to be conducted, according to the New York Daily News.
“While we applaud this decision, the people prosecuted in these cases were forced to endure hardships that should never have happened to begin with,” Felber said. “Some individuals lost years of their lives serving prison sentences and many suffered collateral harm including housing instability, loss of employment and severed access to critical services, all because of the words of these corrupt police officers.”