Newly released body cam footage from two NYPD officers shows what looks like the officers planting drugs in the car of a black teen.
Lasou Kuyateh, 19, was driving around Staten Island with three friends on February 28 of this year when NYPD officers Kyle Erickson and Elmer Pastran pulled Kuyateh over for excessive window tinting.
After a search of the vehicle, Kuyateh was arrested for possession of marijuana — but Kuyateh claimed that the drugs had been planted, and new body cam footage recently obtained by the The New York Times may prove it.
When Kuyateh and his friends were pulled over, they admitted to the officers that they had recently smoked marijuana, but that there was none in the car. The four teens stepped out of the car while the two officers conducted a search.
Body cam footage shows Erickson and Pastran making several passes through the vehicle but finding nothing. At one point, Erickson tells Pastran “We’ve got to find it, we have to find something. You know what I mean?” Then Erickson’s body camera goes off, which Erickson later said was due to a technical issue. After being off for four minutes, Erickson’s body camera suddenly comes back online. Moments later Erickson found the remains of a smoked marijuana cigarette.
Kuyateh who had been filming the search on his phone noticed Erickson possibly holding small plastic bags before the discovery of the marijuana was made. Kuyateh then yells out to the office, “Yo, you were just putting something in my car.” The officers told him to step back; Kuyateh continued, saying “He’s putting something in my car, yo! He’s putting something in my car!”
Kuyateh was then arrested and spent two weeks in jail before making bail. During Kuyateh’s pre-trial hearing, the proceedings were unexpectedly halted by Judge Christopher Robles and the prosecutors. After speaking with Kuyateh’s lawyers, all charges were dropped.
Although the video could not prove that the drugs had been planted, the prosecutors suggested the officer get a lawyer.
No one reacting to the story was surprised to hear that the officers were being accused of planting evidence.
Come on @RealDLHughley we all know cops NEVER plant stuff on suspects... Right???— Sharkinfl (@DirkJordan2) November 20, 2018
This shit happens all the time— TiaRay Williams (@TiaRayWilliams2) November 20, 2018
Wait! Crooked cops?!!!— Negrodamus (@HankB3400) November 20, 2018
Though many were appalled that this kind of police conduct is still happening.
Insane story. Tired of living in a country that allows this to happen. https://t.co/jMwQmDfzF1— whodunit? (@DawgsWillHunt) November 19, 2018
This case was dropped like a sack of hot rocks, then the resulting investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing.— Georgia Antifascist 🚩🏴 (@HumanistHope) November 19, 2018
But most agreed that it will keep happening as long as police officers face no accountability or repercussions.
Until the #NYPD hierarchy @NYPDChiefofDept holds these officers accountable, situations like this will continue to occur. Thank God the young man was finally released but the department should be sued for false arrest:@shaunkinghttps://t.co/zDG7imMiMY— Marc Watkins⚖ (@MarcWatkinsEsq) November 19, 2018
This. Needs. To. Stop. Cops that are found doing this should serve at least 20 years in prison. At least.— Lali Bella Aeyna 🔥 (@AeynaLali) November 21, 2018
An internal police investigation later determined that Erickson and Pastran had not acted improperly.