Legal Aid: NYPD must account for evidence destroyed in fire

Last week, a massive fire destroyed a warehouse in Brooklyn where the NYPD stored decades of evidence.

"Why are you storing such important evidence in a rickety old building?" Legal Aid Society attorney Elizabeth Felber said. 

The loss of that evidence could affect cases and people The Legal Aid Society represents who may have been wrongly convicted.

"Most of our cases are 20 to 30 years old and the DNA technology has improved significantly," Felber, the director of the Wrongful Conviction Unit, said. "If they can locate the evidence and we can test it, we can often times prove that the person who committed the crime was not our client and exonerate our client and most importantly free them."

Most of the evidence stored in the Red Hook warehouse was destroyed in the fire.

The Legal Aid Society wants the mayor, NYPD, and district attorney to work together to provide a list of what was lost and the cases that are impacted. 

"We want an accounting," Felber said. "We want to know every piece of evidence that was stored and is now destroyed."

Fire officials described the warehouse as not very sturdy. 

The city needs to find a safer location to store such critical evidence, Felber said.

"They need to do better," Felber said. "There needs to be open dialogue on this, what will be done so this doesn't happen again?"

The FDNY does not know what caused the fire. It remains under investigation.

Fox 5 News contacted the NYPD and mayor's office for comment but has not heard back.

Image 1 of 7

(FOX 5 NY Photo)