Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes dropped all sex-trafficking and rape charges against a group of men he had accused of raping and tricking out a young Orthorox girl.
Originally arrested in July 2011, Damien Crooks, 31; Jamali Brockett, 27; Jawara Brockett, 33; and Darrell Dulla, 24; were indicted of raping, beating, and prostituting a young Orthodox woman, and each faced up to 20 years in prison.
Hynes accused Crooks of raping the woman in a Crown Heights Park when she was 13, and then forcing her into a life of prostitution. After eight years of this, she confessed her story to the DA’s sex-trafficking hotline.
But, less than 48 hours after the initial complaint, the “victim” told police that she had fabricated the entire story — a recantation that the suspect’s defense was given to him 10 months too late.
The four men awaited a trial date in prison for nearly a year, but when the exculpatory evidence was released in April, a judge commutted their incarceration.
“I’m pleased that the District Attorney’s office recognized that the only fair thing to do was to drop all the charges,” Damien Crooks’s attorney Elliot Kay told the paper.
The District Attorney’s office refused to comment on its alleged misconduct during the judicial proceedings.
FDNY legal firefight
Fire Department attorneys kicked off their fight against a Brooklyn federal judge who ruled that its exams were biased, claiming that Judge Nicholas Garaufis had no idea what the case was about.
Garaufis ruled last year that the FDNY exams were biased against “large segments of the city’s population” and “required an inappropriate reading level.”
Yet, city attorney Deborah Brenner said that Garaufis was way off base.
“Look at the remedy,” Brenner said. “Layer after layer after layer of review because he is convinced the city is a bunch of intentional discriminators, because he is convinced the Fire Department is a bunch of intentional discriminators.”
Yet the appellate court shot down Brenner’s claims, stating that Garaufis’s ruling to appoint an independent monitor to the FDNY exams to increase the number of black and minority firefighters was “anything other than fair.”
Judge Garaufis’s decision follows a class-action complaint that was filed by the U.S. Justice Department in 2007.
City officials, however, said that they had used an outside expert to develop a new test that was first administered in 2007 — the same year that the lawsuit was filed.
The city has also spent $2 million on an expanded FDNY recruitment drive that would be more inclusive toward minorities.
Officials said that there are more than 11,500 firefighters in the FDNY. Less than 1,100 are black or Hispanic.
— with Alfred Ng