Nearly 200 convictions linked to discredited NYPD cops dismissed at Manhattan DA’s request
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NEW YORK – A series of criminal convictions that stemmed from the controversial police officer beat up in Brooklyn are being overturned by prosecutors who want to avoid any potential conflict of interest, officials said Wednesday.
The Brooklyn prosecutors’ office had previously turned down a request from Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. to dismiss the cases. Now, according to officials, they’re seeking to have the defendants exonerated by an independent law firm.
Vance’s office and the Brooklyn DA said the decisions in the Brooklyn cases were motivated by the city’s ongoing police department reform, including a proposal for new police officers at the highest level, and a push to reform the borough’s police force in particular.
In court papers, prosecutors said that they weren’t pursuing charges against the officers because an independent investigation found probable cause to believe that each of them lied to the police after the police beat up. Their lawyers noted that other officers at the scene were also found to have lied.
“That’s why we’re seeking a ruling that exonerates them,” said Assistant Brooklyn DA Andrew Weinstein, the lead attorney on the case.
Vance’s office said there’s no conflict of interest under state law and that it will release the results of the investigation into the officers’ credibility in coming days.
“This decision was made in the belief that the facts found by an independent third-party investigation will not conflict with the interests of the City of New York,” the DA’s statement said.
The city was hit by the infamous Oct. 29, 2014, cop beat-up at a Brooklyn park that was caught on video and went viral on social media. Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who was acquitted of the charges by a jury in 2015, has been accused of a second beating after another officer on the scene identified the first officer as the one who had been hit. The district attorney’s office concluded last year that the two officers, who were unarmed, had lied on the stand about what they had seen during the