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Long Island cop testifies on arrest numbers in Flush the Johns case

Kewho Min, 43, of Garden City, during a

Kewho Min, 43, of Garden City, during a quick break while inside Nassau County Court in Hempstead, Monday, April 28, 2014. Credit: Steve Pfost

A police supervisor testified Monday that he had heard from others in the department that an anti-prostitution sting targeting "johns" last year would stop after 100 men had been arrested.

The comment by Det. Sgt. Michael Beaubian of the Narcotics-Vice Squad came as defense attorney Brian Griffin of Garden City questioned him about "mandates" or "quotas" of arrests that had be reached in the sting.

"I did hear we would stop when we reached 100," Beaubian, a 28-year-police veteran, said. He did not elaborate on where he had heard the number from or under what circumstances.

The sting was conducted by police over several days in April and May last year in various Nassau hotels and did not become public knowledge until District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced the arrests of 104 men June 3 and dubbed the sting "Flush the Johns."

Police witnesses said during several trials in the case that they referred to the sting as a "reversal," meaning they conducted it like a traditional prostitution sting, but targeted the "johns" instead of the prostitutes.

Beaubian said he was the supervisor of the sting operation on the night of May 9, 2013, when Griffin's client, Kewho Min, 43, of Garden City, was arrested and charged with patronizing a prostitute, a misdemeanor.

A police spokesman, Insp. Kenneth Lack, said he could not comment on a pending criminal case.

The district attorney's office had no immediate comment.

Griffin and several other defense attorneys have said Rice had sought publicity for the sting because she wanted to "shame" the men.

Rice acknowledged at her news conference on the arrests that they were, "designed to publicize and deter the sex industry on Long Island . . . we know that the commission of this specific crime is dramatically affected by the perceived risk of getting caught."

Seventeen of the 104 men have pleaded guilty, two were acquitted after a nonjury trial and one was convicted after a nonjury trial.

Charges were dismissed in one case at the request of prosecutors and another case was dismissed by a judge in the interest of justice. The remaining cases are pending.

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