Recorded on his own body camera, an NYPD officer and his partner blatantly planted a small amount of marijuana in an innocent couple’s vehicle. The same officers were recorded a month earlier allegedly planting another tiny amount of marijuana in a teenager’s car.
In March 2018, NYPD officers Kyle Erickson and Elmer Pastran pulled over passenger Jason Serrano and his friend for a broken taillight. When questioned by the officers, Serrano revealed that he was recovering from abdominal surgery after being stabbed.
After Serrano refused to allow the officers to search his jacket, they slammed him to the ground and handcuffed him. In the police body cam footage, Serrano writhed in pain on the sidewalk due to his wound reopening.
Erickson and Pastran repeatedly searched the vehicle and Serrano’s jacket for several minutes but were unable to find anything illicit. Caught on his own body cam video, Erickson clearly planted a nugget of marijuana on the cup holder before claiming to “find” it.
According to Pastran’s body camera, Erickson appeared to plant pot flakes inside one of pockets of Serrano’s jacket before giving his partner a fist bump. Serrano spent the next five days handcuffed to a hospital bed while recovering from his abdominal wound. Unaware of the existence of the body cam videos, Serrano later pleaded guilty to avoid jail time.
On February 28, 2018, Erickson and Pastran pulled over a BMW for excessively tinted windows and turning without signaling. While searching Lasou Kuyateh’s car, Erickson and Pastran repeatedly stated that they’re unable to find any drugs.
Although Erickson suddenly turned off his body camera during the search, Pastran’s body camera and Kuyateh’s cellphone allegedly recorded Erickson planting marijuana inside the car. Four minutes after turning off his body camera, Erickson turned it back on moments after planting a used joint on the backseat floor.
Kuyateh was charged with possession of marijuana and spent two weeks in jail. The case was later dismissed and sealed.
An internal investigation determined that Erickson and Pastran had committed no police misconduct during Kuyateh’s arrest. The newly released footage of Serrano’s arrest clearly depicts the same officers planting drugs while sharing nearly the exact same dialogue between each other.
Erickson and Pastran currently remain on patrol with no criminal charges against them.