Under pressure: NYPD said to conducting “internal review,” of cases handled by det. Niurca Quinones (Pictured)
The NYPD confirmed that three of the arrests she made in separate sexual assault cases fell apart and no one else was subsequently charged with the crimes. Some of the victims sha allegedly arrested with questionable antics in the past have spoken out about her outrageous and unethical practices.
Daquan Jackson, 23, who Quinones arrested for a rape he was cleared of five days later described Quinone as ” sneaky,” Jackson said. Quinones arrested Jackson for allegedly raping a woman in August 2014 who was seeking help, after having just been raped.
The victim failed to identify Jackson in a lineup and a surveillance video showed a suspect who did not resemble him
“She basically took a toll on my life , she’s still taking a toll on my life.”
In his lawsuit suit Jackson said he was told by det. Quinones told Jackson he would be able to go home if he signed a statement that he was in the area at the time of the assault.
“They told me I was going to be able to go back to work, I ended up going to Rikers Island,” he said. “I was scared as hell, crying. I was going crazy. Jail is not for me.”
Jackson said the city pursued the case against him despite the “questionable veracity” of the victim’s story.
DNA evidence later cleared Jackson.
Another victim, Robert Williams was on trial for three separate sexual assaults, this last June. Shortly before one of his alleged victims was to take the stand in Brooklyn Supreme Court the case was blown out of the water when thee victim told prosecutors Quinones had breached police procedures by ‘primed her’ before a lineup of suspects.The detective showed her a photo of the suspect prior to her picking him out. The revelation forced the judge declare a mistrial.
Priming a witness, is a breach of proper police procedure because it increases the chance of a misidentification and preconceived profiling. Prosecutors were put in the position where Williams was retried Williams for only one of the victims. Ultimately, he was convicted of of a sexually motivated assault.
Before Justice Raymond Guzman sentenced him to six years in prison Williams said to the court “I ask your honor to look at the detective who has been accused of doing this over and over again to people”.
On the stand, Quinones a 5-year veteran of the Special Victims Unit that investigates sex based crimes, denied wrongdoing. However, the Williams case was not the first time Quinones’ tactics were called into question in court.
Nicole Bellina, attorney representing two men who have sued the dectective and the city, is of the opinion that it’s difficult to assess how much damage the Quinone has done.
“She’s not only causing real problems to the people she arrests, but also the real rapists are going free,” Bellina said.
Records show Quinones was also involved in two settlements worth $50,000 total before she joined SVU. The saga of SVU investigation missteps culminating the Williams case, reads like a bad detective novel for Niurca Quinones
A year after she joined SVU, Quinones arrested Michael Gattison for sexually assaulting a woman in Brownsville, NY. Following a hearing on the evidence, presiding judge, Miriam Cyrulnik noted that the investigation was full of shoddy police work, riddled with errors wrote: “a myriad of troubling issues regarding the photographic arrays” in the case.
The investigating officer, Quinones failed to properly document that the victim had first identified her attacker as a man who turned out to be severely disabled, which meant he could not have committed the crime, Cyrulnik wrote.
Only after viewing a second set of photos did the victim identify Gattison, a development that yet again, Quinones failed to properly document..
During that hearing, the victim testified she had not signed her initials on a photo of Gattison, though it appeared on the image.
The judge noted: “Detective Quinones’ testimony makes it impossible to determine how many times (the victim) viewed defendant’s photograph or when the viewing(s) might have taken place,” Consequently in her ruling, Justice Cyrulnik excluded tendering the photo IDs or lineup as evidence.
As in the case of Williams, procedural missteps led to the charges against Gattison being dismissed and sealed in 2014, but he had spent over a year behind bars. The city settled his case for $200,000 in July.
Philip Grant’s ordeal was similar. In his lawsuit Grant claims that although a sexual assault victim did not identify him in a photo lineup, that did not stop Quinones and other officers from taking the unusual step of driving the victim to his [Grant’s] home.
Quinones arrested Grant in front of his house on Aug. 27, 2013, while the victim sat in an unmarked police car looking on, he alleged.
In an interrogation room, Quinones told Grant if he would just sign a statement that he was in the area at the time of the sexual assault she would make sure he was released, papers charge.
After relenting and signing the statement, Grant was arrested, despite surveillance video showing the suspect walking without a limp, according to documents, whereas Grant walks with “a very noticeable limp” due to a knee injury he sustained many years ago, he alleged in his complaint.
After 10 months behind bars, his family were able to raise the funds to bailed him out. DNA evidence cleared Grant of the charges which were dismissed in July 2014. The city his yet to admit any wrongdoing in the case.
Regarding her unethical methods, Bellina, attorney for the owners of the suit said “This is a common thing she does. She’s getting people to make a statement by scaring them and telling them that any statement will get them out of there,” Bellina said.
“I think she knows she has a weak case and she’s doing whatever she can to add it. And that’s even eliciting statements she knows are not true.”
Quinones’ arrest of Dequan Jackson for allegedly raping a woman in August 2014 and subsequent investigation methods had an all too familiar ring of entrapping scared suspects into unfounded admissions and using the’ fabricated confession’ to build the case,
after the victim failed to identify Jackson in a lineup.
In a repeat scenario, Jackson was cleared because of DNA evidence. All charges were dismissed and sealed six months later, while the city also took up a familiar stance of denying wrongdoing in the case.
The department’s inquiry into Quinones comes one year after the NYPD implemented a policy of tracking lawsuits against officers, and directs officers sued three or more times within a year, would go to a “level two monitoring list.” Quinones was sued three times in 2015 by the men, whose lives, she basically ruined – Gattison, Grant and Jackson.