A NYPD cop whose nickname is “Legs” was fired for taking methamphetamines — but his lawyer said police relied on a bogus test that can’t tell the difference between a drug user and someone who is accidentally exposed to drugs.
Officer Brian Quire was terminated by Police Commissioner James O’Neill on Feb. 16.
But Quire’s lawyer said the respected 12-year veteran’s penchant for wearing shorts as a member of the Manhattan warrant squad is what got him in trouble.
The lawyer, Yetta Kurland, said his bare legs at some point came into contact with drugs, or possibly the sweat of a drug user being arrested.
During a random drug test last year, she said, hair from his legs was tested.
“A hair test can effectively determine whether or not the hair has been exposed to a drug but it cannot determine whether or not that exposure came from contact with the drug or from internal ingestion,” Kurland said.
“We absolutely want to make sure we don’t have police officers who are using drugs, but we equally want to make sure we use proper testing so we don’t destroy the careers of good police officers, like Detective Quire.”
The NYPD started using hair testing about 20 years ago and has described it as reliable.
It’s also cheaper than urine testing, the previous method used, and can detect drugs in the body for up to three months. Urine tests can detect drugs used up to 30 days earlier.
Quire, 33, was charged by the police department and demoted from detective after he tested positive for the drug.
He argued his case at an administrative trial that he has never showed signs of drug use, Kurland said. Other cops, including his partner and supervising officer, vouched for him.
In an unrelated case, a Bronx detective commander has been suspended for testing positive for steroids, police sources said.
Lt. Kurt Lewis, who runs the detective squad at the 47th Precinct, claims he, too, is the victim of a false positive, according to a source close to him.
Lewis, 45, works out, the source said, and uses a protein powder that led to the failed drug test.
“These powders, workout shakes, are legal,” the source said. “But they can lead to false positives. We have to see the results from the department and send them to a private lab.”
Lewis, a 17-year veteran, couldn’t be reached for comment.
Last year, Sgt. Tracy Gittens, who once worked in first lady Chirlane McCray’s security detail, claimed she failed her drug test because the NYPD mistakenly tested her human-hair weave — not her natural hair. Her case is pending.
Perhaps the most unusual drug-test defense belongs to ex-Detective Anthony Chifalo, who argued his wife cooked him meatballs using marijuana instead of oregano because she wanted to get him fired out of fear he would get killed in the line of duty.
The wife, who smoked pot for back pain, got her wish.
Chifalo’s defense convinced an administrative judge to let him keep his badge, but then-Commissioner Raymond Kelly reversed the finding and canned the cop in 2006.
©2018 New York Daily News
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.