Evidence Lost by NYPD
On December 13, 2022, a fire destroyed a Red Hook (Brooklyn) Police Department evidence warehouse which contained decades worth of DNA records and other materials collected from an array of crimes, including burglaries and shootings. And with many of those items now misplaced or damaged, many in the midst of trials and appeals are expressing considerable consternation and concern.
Interestingly, back in 2012, when "Hurricane Sandy" flooded this very same warehouse and another in Brooklyn, some 10,000 barrels of evidence were destroyed, and many cases were impacted by that loss, including a civil rights lawsuit tried by Newman Ferrara’s Civil Rights Practice Group: Bah v. City of New York.
When speaking with a New York Times reporter about the significance of this destruction, Debra Cohen, Co-chair of the firm’s Civil Rights Practice Group, noted: “People’s lives depend on this evidence.” She continued, “There’s a very important responsibility to properly collect and preserve evidence ….There’s so much at stake.”
After Cohen spent months trying to secure evidence in the Bah dispute, she was ultimately informed by NYPD that Sandy-related flooding contaminated what was being sought, and that the knife Mr. Bah allegedly had in his possession at the time of his killing was "lost."
“It’s all related to poor conditions in those facilities. Poor supervision, poor monitoring, poor upkeep,” Cohen said. “Of all the places you’d think they would have state-of-the-art fire protections, you think it would be there. If the police can’t protect it against a hurricane when they’re sitting in a flood plain, then what are they doing to protect against a fire?”
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If you have a civil rights matter you would like to discuss with an attorney, please do not hesitate to reach out to a member of our team by dialing 212-619-5400
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Additional information about the fire and its implications can be found at the following links: