NEW YORK. – Dominican policeman José Aracena and his African-American colleague Joseph Stokes were arrested and charged Tuesday at the State Supreme Court in Manhattan for stealing money from an undercover agent who was posed as an undercover driver in through an investigation that the two were subject to by the Office of Internal Affairs of the Police Department (NYPD).
Prosecutors said Aracena and Stokes arrested the undercover who pretended to be driving his drunken car and found thousands of dollars stolen in his vehicle, in what the uniformed woman calls “an integrity test” for her agents.
The incident occurred on October 29, 2019 on Orchard Street in Lower Manhattan.
The Public Ministry says in a statement that the police were recorded by the camera taking cash.
Stokes, 40, found $ 4,800 in several hidden cans that resemble those of cold “Arizona” tea in the undercover car. He said he threw the cans in a passing garbage truck and didn’t check the money.
But in the surveillance video he is seen hiding the cans under his car in the parking lot of Barracks 7, police said he found two cans full of cash that same day.
A hidden camera inside the undercover police car recorded Aracena, 35, taking $ 120 from the glove compartment and $ 100 from the center console, but did not report the money in the barracks, prosecutors said.
“These officers are accused of stealing from someone who they believed was the perpetrator of a crime, in other words, someone who could have met in disbelief if he had reported a robbery by police officers,” said the district attorney from Manhattan Cyrus Vance Junior in the statement.
Aracena faces charges of minor theft and official misconduct. Stokes is accused of major theft and official misconduct. Both police officers were suspended by the NYPD.
Stokes’ version of money theft is very different.
He said he and Aracena delivered several hundred dollars as evidence and that the undercover motorist asked him to take a can of Arizona tea from his car and take it to his cell. “The can was a dummy container, and the man I caught took out a wad of bills,” the police alleged.
The case details a notice of a $ 100 million lawsuit Stokes filed against the city last week.
Stokes said he turned on his body camera checking the money and found nothing when he searched the car.
He claims that he is the target of a NYPD conspiracy and was arrested on false charges because he arrested a friend of the then police commissioner James O’Neill for drunk driving.
Stokes said his problems with the NYPD began at the intersection of Allen and Stanton streets in Lower Manhattan on April 29, 2018, when he stopped a restaurateur driving a flashy Audi Two-seater car.
The man who stopped told Stokes that he was friends with O’Neill and the New York police chief, Jeffrey Maddrey, and even showed him photos with Maddrey taken that same night.
The driver tried repeatedly to call O’Neill and Maddrey and finally got a woman believed to be the commissioner’s secretary to answer him.
He said that when Stokes took the man’s cell phone to talk to her, he told him to proceed with the arrest, according to the notice of Stokes’ lawsuit.
“He told me he was going to make me pay,” Stokes said before he was charged yesterday Tuesday.
He noted that months later he received a call in which he was told that he had taken $ 30 thousand dollars from the Audi.
Stokes said he is considering quitting the NYPD.
“I can’t trust them. “I can’t work for someone I can’t trust,” he said.
“When the storm ends, I will make a decision at that time,” he added.
The NYPD declined to comment on Stokes’ lawsuit.