H&F Obtains Landmark Ruling on Claims of Widespread Police Perjury

We have the privilege of representing Hector Cordero in a civil rights lawsuit pending in Brooklyn federal court.

Mr. Cordero, a bodega clerk and former police officer, alleges that NYPD officers from the 83rd Precinct falsely accused him of dealing drugs, strip searched him at the precinct and then had him arraigned on felony drug charges. Mr. Cordero fought the charges until they were dismissed. 

The NYPD officers who arrested Mr. Cordero requested over 27 hours of overtime in connection with the arrest, with paperwork that is inaccurate and appears inflated.

The City has fought the case at every turn, even engaging in sanctionable conduct to stop Mr. Cordero.  But Mr. Cordero remains undaunted.

In addition to his claims against the individual officers, Mr. Cordero is suing the City of New York on the theory that the municipality's overtime policy and policy on lying by NYPD officers encouraged the violation of Mr. Cordero's civil rights.

As reported in the New York Times and New York Law Journal, Senior United States Eastern District Judge the Hon. Jack B. Weinstein recently issued an important decision that will allow for  trial on plaintiff's allegations of systemic police perjury and overtime abuse within the NYPD, following an initial trial on plaintiff's individual damages claims. 

In the present case the court will allow the plaintiff to proceed against the City of New York on Monell grounds that allege the failure to take reasonable steps to control lying by police officers is a policy of the NYPD. His theory is that the police department has long been aware of a wide-spread practice of false arrests at the end of tours of duty in order to obtain overtime and that it has failed to sufficiently address this practice. Plaintiff argues that the city’s policy is not to track or adequately discipline policemen for testifying falsely. And that it has failed to supervise or properly discipline police officers with a record of being unsuccessful defendants in Title 42 U.S. Code Section 1983 cases because they fabricated evidence. (citations omitted).
— Cordero v. City of New York (citations omitted)

The trial is scheduled for February 20, 2018.

Plaintiff's motion to reopen discovery was granted in part on November 21, 2017. 

In addition to the Monell claim, plaintiff will try his claims of false arrest, malicious prosecution, evidence fabrication, unlawful strip search, failure to intervene and supervisory liability. 

Mr. Cordero insists that a consent decree be included in any settlement.