When officers categorize wallets or cellphones as evidence, getting them back can be nearly impossible—even if the owner isn’t charged with a crime.Kaveh Waddell
Last summer, Kenneth Clavasquin was arrested in front of the Bronx apartment he shared with his mother. While the 23-year-old was being processed, the New York Police Department took his possessions, including his iPhone, and gave him a receipt detailing the items in police custody. That receipt would be his ticket to getting back his stuff after his case ended.
But the recovery process would soon turn into a nightmare. Clavasquin’s case was dismissed on December 8, 2015, and one day later, he took a court document proving the dismissal to the NYPD property clerk’s office. He was told that the department had classified his possessions as arrest evidence, to give the district attorney the option of considering them in the case. But the district attorney didn’t, and now that the case was over, the classification meant Clavasquin was about to enter a bureaucratic obstacle course.