Howard Beach jogger murder suspect victim of ‘racial dragnet’ by Queens NYPD cops, says defense lawyer Ron Kuby

Newly-discovered evidence indicates the NYPD, based on a controversial DNA procedure, launched an unfair “racial dragnet” targeting Black males after the 2016 Howard Beach murder of a female jogger that led to the arrest of the man convicted in the killing, according to court papers.

The 65-page Queens Supreme Court document asks prosecutors to either vacate the 2019 conviction of imprisoned Chanel Lewis, 27, in the high-profile homicide, grant a new trial or order evidentiary hearings in the headline-making seven-year-old homicide.

“The truth, which was deliberately suppressed by the prosecution, is the NYPD used an unapproved lab to do racial phenotyping testing, which itself is controversial,” defense attorney Ronald Kuby told the Daily News.

“Every part of the Lewis trial was warped and distorted by the use of the dragnet and deliberate efforts to conceal it had been conducted.”

Karina Vetrano, 30, was sexually attacked and savagely killed as she went jogging in a park near her Howard Beach home on Aug. 2, 2016, with Lewis convicted and sentenced three years later to life without parole.

According to the court papers filed Monday, the NYPD “elicited a DNA phenotyping conclusion from Parabon NanoLab, a then unlicensed vendor” before launching the sweep of minority suspects prior to the testing of the defendant.

“How this racial dragnet led specifically to Chanel Lewis’ door remains unknown; the fact that it did and that it was withheld is newly discovered, and undeniable,” the court papers allege. “Important questions remain about the reliability of DNA phenotyping and the methodologies employed by Parabon NanoLabs.”

Court papers cited a 2019 story in the Daily News reporting 360 Black and Hispanic men previously questioned by police in Howard Beach “were harassed, surveilled and swabbed on questionable consent.”

According to testimony at his trial, Lewis’ DNA was found on the victim’s body. His first prosecution ended with a hung jury before his conviction on April 1, 2019.

Critics of Virginia-based Parabon say private labs receive less scrutiny than public labs.

Parabon did not immediately respond to an e-mail about the new filing. The Queens District Attorney, in a statement, said the office does not comment on pending litigation.

An NYPD lieutenant testified at the trial that “elimination samples” to rule out suspects were taken only from friends, family, and coworkers of the victim or from potential suspects specifically identified to law enforcement.

Kuby said the new evidence contradicted the law enforcement narrative of how the case was closed.

“The arrest was immediately mythologized as dogged police work and good luck,” he said. “The DA’s office and the police worked very hard to to make this look like it had nothing to do with race.

“And usually when white people insist the the prosecution of Blacks has nothing to do with race, it’s always about that thing.”