2009-11-06 / Top Stories

Nassau Detective Knew Charges Were False

Investigators are probing into claims that Nassau police officials were aware that a Far Rockaway teenager was falsely charged for a crime they knew he didn't commit, according to published reports this week.

The reason Raheem Crews, 24, could n't have committed the 2005 arm ed robbery crime in the Long Island town of Roosevelt was because he was already in jail at the time it took place. The defense attorney for Crews, Fred Brewington, told News - day that his client was in jail on a criminal mischief charge, locked up from March 24 to 31, 2005. The robbery occurred March 25. But Crews went back to jail in May 2005 and remained incarcerated until Septem - ber of that year for a crime Nassau detectives may have known he didn't commit.

Brewington is representing Crews in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Nassau, which is still pending in federal court.

But news broke last week that during a February 2006 deposition, Nass - au detective Nicholas Lemma failed to tell anyone that Crews had been falsely charged with armed robbery, and that he was aware that the accused could not have committed the crime because he already was in jail. Lemma was asked what he did with the information from a police department computer that would have freed Crews from jail.

"I kept it to myself and said, 'Let the chips fall where they may,' " Lemma said.

Lemma made his comments in the sworn deposition taken in a civil suit over the arrest and four-month imprisonment of Crews, who was 19 at the time of the March 25, 2005, armed robbery in Roosevelt.

The actions surrounding the case are now under investigation by Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, who was appointed as special prosecutor by Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice. She sought Hynes in August after determining that prosecutors from the office of her predecessor, Denis Dillon, could potentially be involved, according a spokesperson for Rice.

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