FILE – NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 16: Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez speaks during a faith vigil. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
by: Aliza Chasan
BROOKLYN (PIX11) — Hundreds of convictions could be overturned in Brooklyn under a Wednesday request to a judge by District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
The 331 misdemeanor convictions and 47 felony convictions were based on the work of 13 former NYPD officers who were found guilty of crimes committed while on duty. Gonzelez lost faith in the convictions in light of the officers’ coactions.
“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,” he said.
The move was commended by Elizabeth Felber, director of the Legal Aid Society’s Wrongful Conviction Unit. Still, she called for more from Gonzalez and other prosecutors in New York City.
“We urge DA Gonzalez and all of the other New York City District Attorneys to conduct these reviews on an ongoing basis and with full transparency, not just in response to public pressure, but as their duty to ‘do justice,’” she said. “To do otherwise erodes the public’s trust in law enforcement and the criminal legal system.”
The full list of the former officers whose work was involved in the convictions Gonzalez wants vacated is listed below. The number of conviction dismissals being sought connected to each officer is in parentheses.
- Jason Arbeeny (14) – convicted of official misconduct and related charges for planting drugs in 2007
- Michael Arenella (3) – convicted of petit larceny for taking money from an undercover in 2007
- Michael Bergmann (1) – pleaded guilty to perjury in connection with a 2019 incident in which he testified falsely in the grand jury that a suspect almost ran him and his partner over with a car; video obtained by the Brooklyn DA’s Office showed this didn’t happen.
- Jerry Bowens (134) – pleaded guilty to murder and falsifying business records. While assigned to Brooklyn South Narcotics Division in 2008, he supplied drugs to an informant in exchange for information. While his criminal case was pending, in 2009, he shot and killed his ex-girlfriend.
- Richard Danese (4) – pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in Staten Island in connection with a Halloween 2007 incident in which he and his partner unlawfully imprisoned a 14-year-old boy suspected of misconduct and abandoned him in a marsh.
- Sasha Diaz (15) – pleaded guilty to perjury in Manhattan for falsely testifying to a grand jury about observing a firearm in 2014; also convicted in Queens of offering a false instrument for filing, in which she lied about observing a drug deal.
- Michael Foder (27) – pleaded guilty to federal perjury charges in the Eastern District of New York for testifying falsely at a 2018 hearing about when and how he conducted photo arrays of two robbery suspects in Brooklyn.
- Richard Hall (18) – pleaded guilty to bribe receiving and official misconduct for releasing a woman from custody in exchange for sexual favors from her in 2017.
- Sean Johnstone (40) – convicted of conspiracy for paying off informants with drugs in 2007, while assigned to the Brooklyn South Narcotics Division as an undercover.
- Admir Kacamakovic (14) – pleaded guilty in federal court for civil rights violations for assaulting a bar patron with pepper spray and unlawfully detaining him while in uniform in 2008.
- Eddie Martins (60) – pleaded guilty to bribe receiving and official misconduct for releasing a woman from custody in exchange for sexual favors from her in 2017.
- Oscar Sandino (43) – pleaded guilty to deprivation of civil rights for forcing a woman he arrested to perform oral sex in a Queens stationhouse bathroom in 2008; also pleaded guilty to assaulting an off-duty court officer who was in custody.