7 Black men say detective filed false charges against them

Detective Antonini only received a slap on the wrist

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A New York narcotics officer, Camilo Antonini, is being accused of filing false charges against 7 Black men. Gothamist/WNYC obtained secret recordings detailing the situation and are releasing them as part of an ongoing series.

One of the victims is named Bobby Brown. Antonini accused Brown of selling crack cocaine eight months after a confrontation between the two men.

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Three years ago, Brown was chatting with a friend on a sidewalk in Mount Vernon, New York while waiting for his girlfriend to pick him up. When she arrived and parked across he street, Brown noticed three plainclothes police officers approach her white car. He grabbed his phone and immediately began recording.

“They harassing us all the time, man. They ain’t got nothing better to do,” he said to Gothamist.

Shortly afterward, the officers let her go. But instead of leaving, they noticed Brown recording and crossed the street. One of the officers, Detective Antonini, got in Brown’s face. “Let me see your mouth,” he barked, insinuating that Brown was hiding drugs there.

Brown insisted that he had nothing and even swallowed when the detective commanded him to. The detective began frisking Brown and ordered him to spread his legs.

After finding nothing on Brown, the detective walked back to his car. Brown recalls feeling a bad vibe. “I felt like my life was going to crash, but I didn’t know how fast or how soon.”

A team of officers showed up at his apartment, accusing him of selling crack cocaine eight months earlier. His accuser was Detective Antonini and the date of the alleged crime was a week after their confrontation.

Brown’s story is not isolated. He is one of seven residents of Westchester county who say they were falsely accused by Antonini and other officers. Fortunately, a whistleblower who remains on active duty in the police department captured on tape, multiple accounts of Antonini and other officers describing how they framed and assaulted residents and even became allies with a local drug dealer.

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In response to Gothamist/WNYC’s series, the police commissioner, Glenn Scott, shut down the narcotics unit. However, Antonini and others only received a slap on the wrist. Antonini has been relegated to desk duty, and is still collecting a paycheck.

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