After a corruption scandal involving four police officers officers, the wheels of justice are grinding into reverse, undoing years of work by the Brooklyn South narcotics squad and prosecutors, says the New York Times. The Brooklyn district attorney's office has dismissed charges or vacated convictions in 183 cases because one or more of the four officers had played a significant role in them. The scandal emerged in September when an officer was heard on a departmental tape recording saying that he and his partner had recovered 28 bags of cocaine from a suspect but turned in only 17. Later, officers were accused of taking drugs and cash they had recovered and gave them to an informant in exchange for information.
The cases dismissed so far represent 129 misdemeanors and 54 felonies. In some cases, convicted dealers are back on the streets with their records wiped clean and sealed. Addicts who were sentenced to treatment instead of jail could now be ineligible for the programs. “You're putting all these people who have been selling drugs back into the community where they were taken from,” said prosecutor Michael Vecchione. “My prediction is, we are going to wind up rearresting many of these people because they are going to go back to business as usual.” Authorities are expecting to sift through 500 more drug-related cases.