A man who spent 25 years in prison after being falsely arrested in New York and convicted of a crime he didn't commit has won a $12 million settlement from the City of New York. Andre Hatchett, now 51-years old, was convicted of murder in 1991 and sentenced to a lengthy prison term. He and his lawyers argued at the time that he wasn't physically capable of committing the murder as he was recovering from severe injuries at the time the killing took place. Andre was wrongfully found guilty and sentenced.
Last year, NBA player Thabo Sefolosha was acquitted of all charges filed against him by the NYPD stemming from an altercation inside a New York City nightclub. His arrest was so violent that he actually fractured his leg--a devastating injury for a professional athlete. Now Sefolosha, a victim of a false arrest in New York City and excessive force is suing 5 of the officers involved in the false arrest.
Are loopholes in 37-year old laws leading to an increase of false arrests in NYC? If so, are NYPD officers using racial profiling to artificially boost possession charges among minorities? According to at least one public advocacy group they are. The NYPD's own arrest records show that a disproportionate number of people from minority groups are jailed for relatively minor (misdemeanor) marijuana possession when compared to Caucasians. This disparity is even more shocking when you consider that data also shows young white men and women use marijuana at far higher rates than blacks or Latinos.
The NYPD is there to serve and protect but sometimes they get things wrong. Like in the case of Raven Moses, a 30-year old woman from the Bronx who was the victim of a hit and run accident but somehow ended up spending three days in jail years after she had already served time for the same minor crime committed in 2009. The NYPD has some explaining to do on this one and is now facing a $3 million false arrest lawsuit because of what appears to be some sort of computer glitch or clerical error.