Police officers do not often become involved in international spying cases. An exception to this rule was provided in September of 2020 when the FBI arrested a New York City police officer whom they described as the “definition of an insider threat.” Despite this damning label, all federal charges against the officer were dropped on January 20 with very little explanation.
The police officer in question was originally arrested in September of 2020 and charged with spying for the Chinese government. He had joined the New York City Police Department in 2014. On the day that the indictments were dismissed, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York filed documents with the Court stating only that further investigation had obtained “additional information” bearing on the charges. No additional information was provided.
The officer in question had originally overstayed his visa and had been granted asylum by arguing that he had been tortured by the Chinese government because his racial origin was Tibetan, not Chinese. The original indictment claimed that the officer had used his position as a community organizer to gather and provide information on Tibetan immigrants and to secure an invitation to various police events to obtain access to senior NYPD officials to Chinese officials.
Federal prosecutors originally alleged that the officer had failed to disclose that both of his parents were members of the Chinese Communist Party and that his brother and father worked for China’s principal military force. All three relatives of the defendant reportedly live in China.
Hiring a criminal defense attorney
The federal prosecution is now apparently complete. The defendant has no further criminal proceedings ahead of him. The outcome of the case is still a mystery. What aspect of the “further investigation” provided exculpating evidence? And what exactly was that evidence? The defendant’s attorney told the New York Post that the government was apparently using the Classified Secrets Act as a shield to conceal weaknesses in the original indictments. Anyone caught in a similar situation may wish to consider retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney for an evaluation of the evidence and help in devising a successful defense.