The attorney of a New York man charged with weapons offenses claims “dirty” Paterson police officers framed his client with a handgun.
Neal Wiesner, attorney for James F. Carey, 34, of New York, claimed “crooked” police officers “foisted” a weapon on his client’s lap and then arrested him.
Carey was charged with three weapons offenses, according to authorities.
On April 18, Carey was arrested at 24 East Railway Avenue for possession of a loaded handgun. He was placed under arrest by off-duty police officer Elbruz Dagistanli, according to a police report read out at the court hearing.. Wiesner said Dagistanli owns the auto repair shop at the location.
Dagistanli was in civilian attire at the time. He notified police headquarters about a suspect with a handgun at the location. Police arrived at the scene and transported Carey to cellblock.
“One of the things that the officer doesn’t mention is that the arrest occurred six in the morning as they were all drinking shots – he was drunk,” said Wiesner during a detention hearing on Thursday.
Wiesner told the court the party started at a strip club, where the officer is a regular patron. He said there was a stripper at the location. “My client wasn’t carrying a gun at the time of his arrest because he was being very affectionate with this lady. And if he had a gun, she would have noticed it,” said Wiesner.
Wiesner said Dagistanli became jealous.
“Our position is that this officer is dirty,” said Wiesner in court. He said Dagistanli, allegedly “drunk and jealous,” “foisted” a weapon on Carey and then placed him under arrest. “We don’t believe the officer.”
Wiesner also described the officer as “crooked” during the court hearing. He said Dagistanli and other police officers and two women were sitting around a fire drinking at 6 a.m.
Passaic County assistant prosecutor Jessica Petrella pushed back against Wiesner’s allegations against the police officer. She said the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office offered to assist him and his client in filing an Internal Affairs complaint to investigate the allegations, but they never did.
“I think given the political climate surrounding certain members of the Paterson Police Department, it’s a low hanging fruit to essentially make the comment that, ‘Oh, Paterson police officers must be dirty cops or must be doing something inappropriate.’”
Petrella said Wiesner’s argument does not have “much merit.”
Wiesner did not relent. He said there’s no mention in the police report that the officers were “downing shots” and partying at the location.
“This officer is not entitled to drink when he’s off duty?” asked Passaic County judge Joseph Portelli.
“Absolutely entitled to drink, but they’re not allowed to shove guns in people’s laps, and then arrest them for it,” replied Wiesner.
Towards the end of the detention hearing, the judge asked what motive would the officer have in targeting Carey.
“The primary motive is that this officer has wanted to have sex with Mr. Carey’s girlfriend. For years, she has been a stripper and apparently Mr. Carey’s girlfriend was all over Mr. Carey that night,” said Wiesner.
Wiesner said his client does not have a criminal history involving weapons.
The prosecutor wanted Carey detained in Passaic County Jail until trial. Wiesner argued for his release.
Portelli accepted Wiesner’s argument and released Carey from jail. However, he noted he did not buy the defense lawyer’s “dirty” cop argument.
“I want to be clear that I am not releasing him because I accept the argument that they are dirty cops. I have nothing before me to indicate that there any internal affairs investigations against them or finding of any wrongdoing,” said the judge.
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