New York, NY — We wish we were able to make this stuff up folks but there’s yet another video of a police officer caught on his own body camera planting drugs on suspects. Kyle Erickson and Elmer Pastran, two of NYPD’s finest officers told each other they “gotta find something” on Mr. Jason Serrano and his friend.
Immediately after pulling over the two individuals for a supposed broken taillight — which was not broken at all — these two hero cops instantly said they smelled weed. A scathing report from the Intercept details how the seen unfolded next:
Serrano was sitting in the passenger seat of his friend’s car when Erickson and Pastran stopped them. The officers later claimed the car had a broken taillight, but according to Serrano, the officers had been further up the road and made a U-turn to pull up by the car, and they couldn’t have seen the taillight from that position. As soon as the driver rolled down the window, Erickson and Pastran claimed the car smelled “like weed” and ordered her and Serrano out, both officers’ camera feeds show. The videos then show Serrano, who was recovering from abdominal surgery after being stabbed, lifting his clothes to show his wound to Erickson and telling him “I can barely move” (“I don’t want to see that,” the officer responds). Once out of the car, the officers demand to search Serrano’s jacket and he refuses, telling them “There’s nothing in there. … I’m not getting searched for no reason.” As Serrano grows agitated, the officers become more aggressive, grab him, push him to the ground, and handcuff him.
“They said I was resisting arrest, but I just didn’t want to hit the floor, the only thing I was thinking about was this,” Serrano said during a recent interview, pointing to his stomach. “I still had staples in me. … I couldn’t even stand up straight.”
Using the old trick of having sensitive noses, the two cops then began to search the car. Erickson and Pastran didn’t find any weed but continued to search the vehicle nonetheless. Pastran did not find any weed on Serrano’s person either.
The two police officers knew that a tail light being broken was not good enough probable cause to search the vehicle, so they used the claim to have smelled weed.
Erickson then asked his partner if they should “search the whole car” and the two agreed it needed to happen. Without finding any weed, Officer Erickson then decides to take matters into his own hands and place “a little bit of weed” on top of the cup holder. Unfortunately, the whole incident of planting of drugs by a law enforcement officer was caught on Erickson’s own body camera. Erickson and Pastran actually gave each other a fist bump after they manhandled Serrano, violated his and his friend’s civil rights, framed him, and took an innocent man to jail.
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This latest incident was discovered by the Intercept a full two years after the incident took place. Serrano took a plea deal for a crime he did not commit simply to avoid jail time. After all, the cops wrote in their police reports they had found weed in Serrano’s possession even though the car was not his, he was not driving, and he was not in possession of any cannabis.
As you might have guessed, it wasn’t the first time these officers were caught on camera behaving badly. In fact, the New York Times revealed in 2018 Officers Erickson and Pastran were involved in another incident which was also caught on camera whereby the two planted drugs on a teenager.
The Staten Island 120th Precinct cops pulled over an African American male who was driving a BMW. Lasou Kuyateh was the driver and he saw one of the officers planting weed in the BMW after the two dirty cops had searched the vehicle entirely.
In that instance, Erickson switches off his body camera and when it comes back on, he miraculously found a joint that was not there when his partner searched the exact same spot. Kuyateh is even recorded on the video as he sees the cop planting the drugs saying Erickson is "putting something in my car."
Kuyateh was arrested and thrown in jail for two weeks after these cops framed him. He eventually fought the charges in court and won. He began proceedings last year to sue the city for $1 million.
Almost 18,000 people per year since 2014 have been arrested and charged in New York for weed crimes. These arrest have never been about keeping people safe. Weed is a wonder drug by all accounts, one which is now legal in some form or another in well over half the country. It has always been about criminalizing all Americans so the lawyers, the courts, and the cops keep getting their big fat paychecks. You two gentlemen, Erickson and Pastran, are not heroes, neither is any police officer who arrests anyone for possessing a healing herb.
Despite being caught on video TWICE planting drugs on innocent people, Erickson and Pastran are still protecting and serving the hell out of folks there in Staten Island. Following multiple complaints and the accompanying body camera footage, Internal Investigations declared the allegations against the officers was “unfounded”. Go figure. Bad apples? In this case, the whole tree is full of bad apples!