NEW YORK—A detective who changed details of his testimony in a narcotics case has been indicted for perjury.
Abel Joseph, a 39-year-old detective with the New York Police Department (NYPD), testified before a grand jury in a case of a man accused of selling narcotics in East Harlem and later changed the details of his sworn testimony during a suppression hearing.
In a suppression hearing, the defense team makes a motion to suppress the testimony of a witness if that testimony is proven false.
Joseph, a narcotics detective, arrested a man in 2010 for selling phencyclidine (PCP) in East Harlem.
Joseph told an assistant district attorney that he and his field team had searched for the buyers and were unable to find them. He then testified before a grand jury in August 2010 to that effect. He also testified that he never lost sight of the accused seller.
At a suppression hearing in September 2011, Joseph changed his testimony and stated that he had stopped the buyers, searched them, and released them after not finding any PCP. He also testified that he lost sight of the seller before the arrest.
As a result of the defendant’s conflicting testimony, the case against the accused PCP seller was dismissed.
“Perjury in official proceedings is intolerable,” said District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., in a statement. “This detective wasted the time and resources of prosecutors, the court, and a grand jury, and the actions for which he stands accused led to a criminal case being dismissed in its entirety.”
The defendant is charged in New York State Supreme Court with two counts of perjury in the first degree.