An NYPD narcotics detective has been charged with perjury for allegedly lying about the details of a drug bust he made in East Harlem in 2010.
According to a release from the Manhattan DA's office, 39-year-old narcotics detective Abel Joseph told a grand jury in August of 2010 that he observed the defendant in the case selling PCP near the corner of Lexington Avenue and 115th Street. "I never lost sight of him," Detective Joseph told the grand jury, referring to the alleged dealer. But Joseph added that he and his officers never caught up with people he thought to be the dealer's customers. "We couldn't find them. My field team couldn't find them."
Yet during another court hearing in September of 2011, Joseph testified that he in fact did not see the alleged dealer at that corner before he was arrested, and that he and his team detained and searched the alleged customers. "We gave them a light pat down, a light pat down for any objects, anything like that," Joseph said, according to the indictment.
Due to Joseph's conflicting testimony, the charges against the defendant were dismissed. At his arraignment, Joseph pleaded not guilty to two counts of first degree perjury, felonies that carry up to seven years in prison.
Abel's attorney, James Moschella of the Detectives Endowment Association, told the Daily News that the man accused of selling PCP is clearly guilty. "Michael Butler has been rearrested numerous times since then.The Manhattan DA's office has an investigation into him right now because it thinks he's a major PCP dealer in Manhattan north."
Moschella added, "This sends the message that the office cares more about drug dealers in this city than people who risk their lives taking dealers off the streets."
Joan Vollero, a spokeswoman for the Manhattan DA's office, countered "Our record prosecuting drug dealers—including those who sell PCP—speaks for itself."
Vollero declined to comment on why more than two years elapsed between Joseph's alleged crimes and his arrest.
“Perjury in official proceedings is intolerable, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. said in a statement. “This detective wasted the time and resources of prosecutors, the court, and a grand jury, and the actions for which he stands accused led to a criminal case being dismissed in its entirety.”
You can read the indictment against Detective Joseph below.