A Cop Who Was Promoted Despite Reports Of False Arrests Made Over $120,000 Last Year
Officer Xavier Gonzalez falsely arrested a Black financial planner and lied about witness statements but was promoted in 2017.
According to city records, a New York Police Department officer implicated in multiple false arrests has yet to be disciplined and was even given a promotion in December 2017.
Almost three years ago, Black investment adviser Darrell Williams was arrested on his way home from work after officer Xavier Gonzalez accused him of pickpocketing an undercover officer. Officer Gonzalez fabricated a statement from painter Anthony Osei, claiming his wallet or phone had been stolen. Osei told the Daily News, prosecutors and police that he never said this and did not have anything stolen that day.
Williams sued the city and included an affidavit from Osei reiterating that the statements under his name were fabricated.
“I defended him (Williams) because it was the right thing to do,” Osei told the Daily News. “A cop came up to me and said, ‘Did he take your phone?' I said, ‘No, I have my phones and wallet.’ Two weeks later, I get a call from the prosecutor. I told them the same thing."
Williams, whose wife works for the police department, says Gonzalez faked the charges to accrue more overtime pay. According to the Daily News, Gonzalez made more than $31,000 in overtime pay in 2017 and nearly $36,000 in 2018 on top of his $94,000 yearly salary. Officers are often looking for "arrest overtime," which kicks in when an arrest is made at the end of a shift.
Williams, who was paraded through the police station in his suit, had his financial license suspended while the case was being investigated, spent $1,500 on a lawyer and faced intense scrutiny at his job. The case was dismissed after two months, but Williams said he has anxiety around police officers and struggles to take the subway.
The city ended up paying Williams $100,000 in a settlement but never levied any disciplinary charges against Gonzalez.
“I have no trust in cops anymore,” Williams said during an interview with the Daily News. “He’s putting perfectly innocent people in handcuffs. People who don’t have the resources I have, they could go to jail for something they didn’t do."
His lawyer, Joel Berger, slammed the city's prosecutors for dismissing the case, saying, “They covered it up. The district attorney's office admits they never kept any notes about their conversation with Osei. All they do is dismiss the case, but they make no record of why."
In Williams' lawsuit, he spoke to Gonzalez's partner, who confirmed that he spoke to Osei and that the painter denied having anything stolen. He also confirmed that Gonzalez did not speak to Osei himself, even though he said he did in the police report.
Officer Gonzalez was promoted to detective and now works in the Brooklyn Special Victims division. Berger has sent multiple messages to the district attorney's office asking for Gonzalez to be reprimanded for his conduct in the case, citing another instance where he fabricated evidence. The city was forced to settle that case for $25,000.
“This case vividly demonstrates the failure of the city’s prosecutors to do anything about police lying,” Berger said.
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