New York Daily News: By John Annese – Three NYPD officers — including a former detective who once claimed she was framed and poisoned by a fellow cop who cast Santeria spells on her — must shell out $191,000 in damages to a man they wrongfully arrested on drug charges.
Former Detective Ylka Morales, Detective Hugo Ortega and an unnamed undercover officer were hit with the tab as part of a Tuesday verdict in favor of William Kleinfeldt, who sued the trio in Brooklyn Federal Court for excessive force and malicious prosecution. It’s still up to the judge if the city will foot the bill due to qualified immunity.
Kleinfeldt, 31, was arrested by Morales and other officers in an undercover drug sting at an apartment building in Brownsville, Brooklyn, in 2015 and charged with the attempted robbery of an undercover cop.
The charges were dropped when video emerged that contradicted the undercover cop’s grand jury testimony.
Kleinfeldt alleged that Morales kicked him twice in the face while he was handcuffed, lying facedown on the ground and Ortega, 46, punched him once in the stomach during the arrest.
His lawyer, Michael Lumer, had hoped to tell the jury about Morales’ “fantastical and inconsistent” remarks on Facebook blaming a positive drug test that got her kicked off the force on a rival cop’s Santeria spell.
“I was drugged/poisoned and framed by NYPD Narcotics Detective Ali Dee because I ousted her for being corrupt,” Morales wrote on June 3, 2019. “Don’t think I don’t know you’ve been using Santeria Spells to do bad things to people at work.
The Daily News Flash
Catch up on the day’s top five stories every weekday afternoon.>
“Not only did you poison me with food, you’ve been feeding male cops in [Narcotics Bureau Brooklyn North] for the past few years food you bring from home mixed with your pubic hairs and vagina fluids to give yourself power,” Morales wrote on the social media site.
Judge Rachel Kovner wouldn’t allow the Santeria claims to be used at trial to assail Morales’ credibility, but video from the arrest gave Kleinfeldt plenty of material.
The undercover cop, identified at “UC 217, ″claimed that he passed money to a woman, then watched as she handed it to Kleinfeldt, as part of a crack cocaine transaction. The video shows no handoff took place, and it contradicted the undercover’s claims that Kleinfeldt and several others surrounded and robbed him.
When pressed on the inconsistencies, the cop tried to paint the drug deal as a tense episode, with his memories sharpened by being threatened and robbed.
“When was the last time someone threatened your life to shoot your head off at a crack house in a dark room by yourself? That’s what stands out,” the cop said to Lumer. “How long did it take you, when somebody put a gun to your head, to remember it?” the officer asked.
The jury hit the undercover cop with the bulk of the damages, $134,100, while Morales was ordered to pay $49,100 and Ortega $7,900.
Kovner will rule on whether the cops are covered by qualified immunity in the coming months.
Top Feature Photo: Former NYPD Detective Ylka Morales – Facebook