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New York, NY - IAB Implanted False Evidence Against NYPD Cop

Published on: February 19, 2009 04:06 PM
By: WPIX News
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New York, NY - The NYPD Internal Affairs Bureau is under fire for introducing false phone records as evidence in a departmental hearing.  In March of 2008, the IAB accused a Staten Island Sergeant of misconduct and entered his Verizon and T-Mobile call histories into the official hearing record.  Eight of the most critical phone conversations never happened.

Internal Affairs investigators began building a case against Sgt. Bill Lewis in April of 2007 after they got a tip Lewis was contacting the owner of Staten Island’s Beer Goggles Bar.  In the following weeks, IAB detectives became convinced Lewis was trying to warn the bar about an ongoing gambling investigation. To prove Lewis was attempting to blow the cover of vice cops, internal affairs investigators subpoenaed 13,000 pages of his phone records. That’s where the discrepancy comes in.

Lewis’s defense attorney, Eric Franz, says he inspected the raw phone data, and it didn’t match the evidence document provided by the NYPD in court.

“I went and reviewed the original phone records and compared to the records provided by the police department,” said Franz. “Remarkably, shockingly—those phone calls that they claim occurred between my client and the target of the investigation never occurred!”

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When the NYPD requests phone records, telecommunications companies use a software program called “Penlink” to turn tens of thousands of calls into a succinct sheet of relevant conversations. The department initially claimed Lewis called the Beer Goggles bar owner eight times during the vice investigation between December of 2007 and March of 2008.

After the discrepancy was raised in court, NYPD lawyer Krishna O’Neal admitted “a review of the original phone records from the respective phone companies indicate that no phone activity occurred between Sergeant Lewis and [the bar owner] from December 2007 through March 2008.”

“That would be extremely troubling to me,” said former NYPD Trial Commissioner Rae Koshetz. “As the hearing officer in a case like that, the proceedings would grind to a screeching halt ... I’ll tell you, I never heard anything like this in 14 years that I heard cases.”

NYPD spokesman Detective Joe Cavitolo explained the false phone records, calling them a result of “human error.” “[It] was brought to the attention of the courts and it had no bearing on the case,” Cavitolo said.

Sgt. Bill Lewis is now awaiting a hearing officer’s decision on the charge that he blew the Beer Goggles undercover operation.  His attorney still has no answer as to how the Penlink phone document distorted the raw phone records.
“I have no reason to believe that the Penlink software has any defects in it,” said Franz.  “I think the defects are in the personnel that operate it.”



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Read Comments (5)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Feb 19, 2009 at 04:30 PM Anonymous Says:

the one supposed area that is supposed to be corruption free is not. how can anyone trust a cop

2

 Feb 19, 2009 at 07:32 PM bssp Says:

Thants why they are called "The rat squad"

3

 Feb 19, 2009 at 07:08 PM robroy560 Says:

Eventually it all comes out in the laundry. Either the guy called or he didn't call. Plus you have no idea why he called the guy. Lot's of ex-cops own bars... the guy could have been a friend. Or maybe the guy is a relative or friend from the old neighborhood.

4

 Feb 19, 2009 at 06:56 PM Raphael Kaufman Says:

They don't call IAB "The Rat Squad" for no

5

 Feb 20, 2009 at 12:10 AM Anonymous Says:

when are people going to learn to use "throw-aways" aka pre-paid phones?

6

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