An NYPD Lieutenant was accused of committing perjury that led to the wrongful conviction of a Bronx man and four others for the 1995 killing of taxi driver Baithe Diop.
(Left to Right: O’Toole, Glisson, Ayers, Cosme, Watkins, Perez)
Eric Glisson spent 18 years behind bars at Sing Sing Maximum Security Prison, entering at the age of 20 years old. He was released with Cathy Watkins, Michael Cosme, Devon Ayers, and Carlos Perez in January 2013 when two gang members were revealed to be the true killers.
Glisson claims that Lieutenant William Sean O’Toole lied in court about apprehending Glisson and his associates as well as actively suppressing evidence that would have led to the real killers. O’Toole said he grabbed Glisson as he tried to escape into his apartment. Yet, Glisson says O’Toole tricked him into opening the apartment’s door by using a local child. The formerly incarcerated also say O’Toole destroyed the notebook of the detective who was re-investigating the murder. When the department discovered the notebook had disappeared, this set in motion a chain of events that eventually led to the freeing of those wrongfully imprisoned.
Glisson, Watkins, Cosme, Ayers and Perez are pursuing ongoing litigation against the city for malicious prosecution. Glisson’s lawyer, Peter Cross, told the New York Post, “No one would believe that this notebook slipped away accidentally.
Court filings revealed that NYPD Det. Peter Forcelli told Officer O’Toole that Gilbert Vega and José Rodriguez bragged about killing the driver in 1995. Forcelli said O’Toole remained silent and didn’t acknowledge the Diop murder trial despite being a key witness.
“The NYPD may have looked only in the open homicide drawer and never bothered to even look to see if there was anything other than an unsolved homicide that fit that decision,” Forcelli told NBC’s Dateline.
But Officer O’Toole claims the allegations are false. He told the New York Post that he “absolutely hadn’t lied under oath” and that Forcelli was full of “baloney.”
“There’s no reason for me to hide the notebook or take the notebook,” O’Toole explained. “Obviously, anyone can put anything they want in court documents. I have nothing to hide and I know I didn’t do anything wrong.”
A year after his exoneration, Eric Glisson opened a juice bar in the Bronx called Fresh Take Juice Bar. His daughter Cynthia was only a week old when he first entered Sing Sing and was 18-years-old by the time he was released. Glisson has since had a second daughter named Scarlett last April.