Family questions 'stop and frisk' NOPD technique

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wwltv.com

Posted on October 22, 2012 at 6:02 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 22 at 6:21 PM

Katie Moore / Eyewitness News
Email: kmoore@wwltv.com | Twitter: @katiecmoore

NEW ORLEANS -- The family of a man convicted of cocaine possession is asking for a federal investigation into the case and into the NOPD practice called "stop and frisk."

At the same time, they're wondering why it's taking so long for the independent police monitor to conduct a review of the case.

"Who can we turn to?" asked Troylynn Robertson at the Central City spot where her son was arrested in 2010.

Corey Johnson is serving time at Angola for a cocaine possession conviction, one his mother calls wrongful.

The Orleans Parish district attorney prosecuted him as a multiple offender because he had two prior convictions, extending the severity of his sentence.

“I seen so many people that look like me, mainly mothers, and I just wanted to show them that you can still fight for your children. It don't stop when they say guilty,” Robertson said.

Robertson said police arrested her son during a "stop and frisk" in Central City. She said Johnson and his friends were outside her home on Dryades when four New Orleans police officers approached them. According to Robertson, all the boys were handcuffed, but her son was the only one arrested.

Police said he took a bag of cocaine out of his mouth and threw it down when they had arrived. She was suspicious that night and called 911 after police took him away.

Robertson said an outside audio recording expert found her 911 call was edited. It's something she didn't hear until after her son was convicted.

But Robertson is also concerned because she has yet to get copies of the results of the internal Public Integrity Bureau investigation the NOPD launched, or a review of that by the Independent Police Monitor.

NOPD Public Integrity Bureau Chief Arlinda Westbrook said through a spokeswoman that Robertson had never filed a formal request for the copies; however, Robertson had a letter dated July 12, 2012 in which she did.

The Independent Police Monitor Susan Hutson said her office has put a halt to all reviews of NOPD investigations because of a lack of staff.

“We helped create the Independent Police Monitor's office and we want to see that office work the way that we envision it to work,” said Norris Henderson, a frequent advocate for police oversight.

“While we're still reviewing it, I would imagine that PIB would consider it something that's under review so that they wouldn't release it. So, as soon as we can get it completed, I would assume she could get access to some parts of it,” Hutson said about getting copies of the investigation.

Westbrook also said she met with Robertson multiple times about their finding that the department committed no wrongdoing, something Robertson acknowledges in her letter.

NOPD Spokeswoman Remi Braden the following statement in response to this story: “The Public Integrity Bureau did launch an investigation into how Corey Johnson's case was handled, but found no evidence of any wrongdoing by the Department. PIB informed Mr. Johnson's mother of this in February of 2011, and PIB Chief Arlinda Westbrook met with her several times afterwards to confirm that there was no new evidence in Mr. Johnson's case, so the case remained closed. His conviction was appealed all the way to the State Supreme Court, where it was upheld.”

Robertson is also still waiting to see the files from prosecutors in the case and said she filed a lawsuit to get them.

A spokesman for the district attorney said that there's a six week backlog in processing public records requests but that they told Robertson that within the time required by law.

 

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