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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Cops Ticket Trespassing Outside Citizen's Own Hone

Tenants slapped with trespassing tickets by NYPD, but they were just going inside their own home
The New York Daily News by Rocco Parascandola - September 23, 2010

A Brooklyn man standing in front of his apartment was hit with a trespassing ticket, even after cops watched him use his key to get inside. Lindsey Riddick, still fuming over the bizarre Aug. 18 incident, said he showed police his identification. And when he opened the door to the Flatbush home, his girlfriend and two daughters greeted him and then ran outside the apartment. "I told the officer, 'I live here and I have the key,'" recalled Riddick, 36, whose brother, Michael Riddick, also got a summons for trespassing. "You're giving me a summons? Come on, man. You got to be kidding me." The brothers' claims have been added to a class action federal suit initially filed in May that accuses city cops of doling out illegal summonses to meet quotas. "This is another example of police trespassing on people's constitutional rights just to fill a quota," said the brothers' lawyer, Jon Norinsberg. "There's something terribly wrong with how the NYPD operates and it has to be fixed." Police officials didn't respond to repeated requests for comment about the Brooklyn incident or the suit. Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne denied the NYPD has quotas, calling the suggestion "absurd."

"Fortunately, most police officers do their jobs well, and in no case is anyone demanding police officers take action on nonexistent conditions," Browne said. Michael Riddick, 33, an exterminator, made an audio recording of part of the August confrontation. An officer told the brothers they had to go inside the home. "You don't own the street," said the one of the cops, identified by the brothers and a source as rookie Officer Marvin Esson. "You don't live in the street." The Riddick brothers both have drug convictions, but said they were minding their business when approached by police that night. The class action suit has 22 plaintiffs alleging bogus summonses across the city. In 19 of the cases, the summonses were dismissed. The cases against the Riddick brothers are pending. The disposition in one case wasn't clear late yesterday. Norinsberg, who represents the brothers, was also retained by Officer Adrian Schoolcraft. Assigned to the 81st Precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Schoolcraft filed a $50 million suit accusing the NYPD of forcing him into a mental institution after he claimed supervisors were fudging crime stats. The class action suit references Schoolcraft and Officer Adhyl Polanco, who made similar accusations against the supervisors in the 41st Precinct in the Bronx. Deputy Inspector Donald McHugh, the commanding officer of the 41st Precinct, was transferred last week. Sources said he was transferred over Polanco's accusations.

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