Two Bronx men have accused the District Attorney’s Office of coercing them to lie as witnesses in more than two-dozen criminal cases, according to separate notifications filed with the city.
One of the men, William Stevens, who is currently serving prison time for attempted robbery, filed a notice of his intention to sue the city Monday. He charges that detectives from the 42nd Precinct falsely arrested him at least 100 times over a three-year period starting in 2014, and forced him to lie about witnessing a crime in at least 25 different cases, sometimes with the help of Assistant District Attorney David Slott.
At least three of those cases involved Pedro Hernandez, the teenager accused of robbery and supplying a gun involved in a shooting. Hernandez’s case has become a cause célèbre for many justice-system reformers who liken his situation to that of Kalief Browder‘s an believe he’s being railroaded by an overly aggressive system.
Hernandez has been charged with providing the gun in a September 2015 shooting that the DA originally believed he acted as the trigger man.
In his claim, Stevens said he was beaten by detectives until he identified Hernandez as the shooter.
Stevens also charges that he was coerced in another 2015 shooting for which Hernandez was arrested, but those charges were eventually dismissed. He was also pressured into saying he was the victim of a robbery committed by Hernandez, according to his filing.
On multiple occasions, Det. David Terrell, who is currently on modified duty from the 42nd Precinct, and his partner, Det. Daniel Brady, would come to Stevens’s Bronx apartment without a warrant, handcuff him, take him to the 42nd Precinct and beat him to get him to provide false information about crimes he had no knowledge of, the claim says.
Assistant District Attorney David Slott also threatened Stevens, saying that if he did not identify Hernandez as a criminal, it would be “very bad for him” and that he’d be arrested. Slott then pursued the cases knowing they were based on falsified information, according to the notice of claim.
Tyrese Revels, the victim of the earlier shootings for which charges against Hernandez were dropped, also filed a notice of claim the same day with the help of the same law firm as Stevens.
In it, he says that after refused to be pressured into identifying Hernandez as his shooter, he was falsely arrested by police officers in the 42nd Precinct. He was then taken to the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office, where he met with Assistant District Attorney David Slott and Brady, both of whom he’d met there before, the claim says.
He also said law enforcement officials tried to pressure him into identifying Hernandez as the shooter and into saying that Angelo Cotto, who has also filed a suit against the city and police officers, was involved in the shooting.
When Revels refused, he was charged with assault and robbery, according to the claim. He spent a month on Riker’s Island before those charges were dropped.
The Bronx District Attorney’s Office, the NYPD and lawyers representing the city declined to comment on the charges.
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