News – International Highlife
Gilberto Mercedes was arrested in the Neighborhood Liquor Store at Knickerbocker and Putnam avenues in Bushwick last week for selling a $25 bag of cannabis, according to police.
Mercedes, 42, also was accused of endangering the welfare of a child — for allegedly selling a bottle of vodka to an informant who is under the age of 21. He has been with the NYPD for 14 years, cops said. He made more than $85,000 last year, records show. After the incident, he was suspended without pay.
Mercedes’ family and friends were stunned by the allegations, insisting he never sold drugs.
“It’s shocking,” his father, Cruz Mercedes, told The Post through a Spanish translator.
The 66-year-old dad, who lives down the block from the liquor store, said his son is a divorced war veteran with three kids who lives in The Bronx.
The officer’s lawyer, Patrick Brackley, insisted at Gilberto’s arraignment that his client does not own — or even work — at
the liquor store.
Mercedes has been charged with criminal sale and possession of cannabis, weapon possession and unlawfully dealing with a child for the alleged booze sale to a 19-year-old.
Brackley said, “[The gun] was not his weapon and he had no knowledge of its presence.’’
Police set the bail at $10,000.
Police said Internal Affairs is investigating.
A man behind the counter at the liquor store insisted that the charges were bogus. He called the allegations
100 percent false. He is a good guy, come on,
said the visibly upset employee.
Cruz said he hadn’t spoken to his son since the arrest.
Nothing bad is going to happen to him. He is not guilty. They have to let him go free. He wouldn’t do such a thing. He is a calm kid. Everybody on the block likes, everybody gets along with him. He is a good kid,
the officer’s dad insisted.
State law allows police officers to work up to 20 hours a week on another job — as long as it doesn’t conflict with city or department rules.
NYPD officers must fill out an Off-Duty Employment Application and a superior must sign off.