The NYPD officer who's been sued more than any cop in New York City is facing a new batch of misconduct lawsuits—and the police department still isn't saying whether he'll ever face discipline.
Back in March, with the help of a new database released by the Legal Aid Society, Gothamist compiled a ranking of the most sued active duty officers across the NYPD. Topping out that list was Detective Abdiel Anderson, a 16 year veteran of the force whose name appeared in at least 40 lawsuits. By that point, taxpayers had shelled out nearly half a million dollars for settlements related to the Bronx cop's behavior.
Since then, Anderson's propensity for alleged civil rights violations has only increased. He's been sued for misconduct three times in the last six months (and once over a home foreclosure unrelated to his police work). Each case has involved the allegedly illegal searches, evidence fabrications, and brutality that's earned him a reputation among defense attorneys and Bronxites.
“In any other employment context, Anderson would have lost his job years ago," said Molly Griffard, a CAPstat Fellow at The Legal Aid Society. "This sends a terrible message to the public that Anderson’s behavior—and other officers who rack up lawsuits—is accepted and tolerated by the NYPD.”
This past April, Anderson and a handful of other Bronx narcotics officers were sued after allegedly throwing Erving Martinez into a wall, illegally searching him, then falsely claiming they observed him selling drugs. Martinez was ordered to return to court five times before all charges were ultimately dismissed. According to the complaint, the officers initiated the arrest for the "sole purpose of acquiring overtime pay and an additional arrest credit."
Records show that Anderson has earned between $34,000 and $43,000 in overtime each year since 2009; his take-home pay last year was $141,278.
Another lawsuit, filed this past July, described an allegedly brutal arrest and illegal strip search last year that rendered Juan Arriaga permanently disabled.
And in the most recent case, plaintiff Timmy Wallace alleges he was walking in the Bronx when he was tackled by Anderson and handcuffed without reason. Despite not finding any drugs, Anderson allegedly provided false testimony to the Bronx District Attorney's Office that landed the man in jail. Those charges were eventually dismissed three years later, but not before Wallace was forced to spend months in jail for allegedly violating his probation.
Because of the NYPD's controversial reinterpretation of Civil Rights statute 50-a, it's unknown whether Anderson has ever faced an internal investigation for his conduct.
Efforts to reach Abdiel were unsuccessful. A spokesperson for the NYPD, Jessica McRorie, told Gothamist that Anderson has "made hundreds of arrests that did not lead to any civil litigation, but in fact helped keep people in New York City safe from drugs and violence."
McRorie also claimed that the Legal Aid Society's database is "misleading," but did not dispute that he is New York City's most sued officer.
Inquiries to the Mayor's Office were not returned.