Hundreds of officers placed on The Bronx, New York district attorney’s “No Fly List,” a secret roster of officers whose cases are supposed to get an extra level of scrutiny by prosecutors due to past instances of misconduct and credibility concerns, were still able to participate in and jeopardize roughly 164 court cases with dubious statements, reports ProPublica. The list was created a decade ago amid a sprawling investigation into the city’s biggest police union and its role in helping officers “fix” tickets issued to family and friends for speeding, illegal parking and other traffic offenses. It grew to 664 names and was intended to help prosecutors vet cases that might rest too heavily on officers whose ties to the scandal could raise questions about their conduct and credibility.
Prosecutors aren’t barred from relying on No Fly officers, and a spokesperson for the Bronx District Attorney’s Office wouldn’t say how many have testified, only that “hundreds” had done so in successful prosecutions. Ten years after the list’s creation, it’s unclear how the Bronx District Attorney’s Office currently uses it and who has access to it. Defense lawyers say that they still find themselves frequently making plea deals knowing little or nothing about the history of the arresting officer, and long before a judge might start asking questions, despite 2019 law was intended to speed up those disclosures. It is rare that the legality of a search or the veracity of an officer’s report is subjected to scrutiny beyond that of a supervising officer or the assistant district attorney processing the criminal complaint. The No Fly List, though, remains under seal. In 2012, at the request of lawyers for the indicted ticket-fixing officers, a Bronx judge issued a gag order blocking the list from being publicly distributed. Half of the 164 No Fly officers currently on the job were promoted in the decade since they were first flagged, most of them to detective.