Newly-released surveillance footage undermines an undercover New York City police officer's claim that four men robbed him at knifepoint outside a hardware store, the New York Daily News reported.
"The detective's statements of facts are directly contradicted by the videotape," said attorney Audrey A. Thomas, who is representing one of the four men arrested based on the officer's story. "In light of this, justice can only be served, in this instance, by an immediate dismissal of all of the charges for all of the defendants."
According to Gothamist, the officer, identified as Winston McDonald, testified in Brooklyn Criminal court that four people -- 24-year-old Samantha Dabel, 28-year-old Peterson Duplan, 29-year-old Ricardi Joseph, and 33-year-old Jean Scott -- approached him and threatened to "f*ck him up" inside the store during the Dec. 26 encounter.
McDonald also said that Duplan told him, "Give me your money or I will stab you" outside the store and flashed a switchblade at him. Duplan and his three companions were arrested outside and charged with resisting arrest, robbery, menacing, and obstructing governmental administration. Joseph was also charged with criminal sale of marijuana.
While the footage shows an argument between McDonald -- whose face is digitized -- and the suspects, it also shows Duplan making a motion like he is being handcuffed. Thomas said the officer approached the group trying to buy drugs, and Duplan saying he recognized him from a prior arrest.
More crucially, video filmed outside the store shows no indication that McDonald was ever threatened. Instead, the group walks away from the store and McDonald follows them. The Daily News reported that they were arrested 10 minutes after the group walked out of the camera's view.
Watch the video, as posted online on Wednesday, below.