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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Four Men Sue PD After Arrest for Laughing

Four Queens men sue NYPD after being held for 30 hours, busted for laughing at cops
The New York Daily News by John Marzulli - December 13, 2010

Four Queens men claim they were locked up for more than 30 hours by cops seeking revenge on a crowd of men who laughed at an officer who couldn't catch a fleeing drug suspect. The men insist they didn't even laugh, says their lawyer Gabriel Harvis, who filed suit against the NYPD and 10 unidentified officers in Brooklyn Federal Court. They believe they were arrested because cops wanted to take their frustration out on them, he said. "The cops knew my clients had done nothing wrong, but they didn't care," said Harvis, who represents Abdul Kabba, Isaiah Barnes, Hasan Allen and Ishmial Deas. Police "were embarrassed, so they abused their power by locking them up anyway."

The four were held for 27 hours in the 103rd Precinct stationhouse before the Queens district attorney's office dropped the charges. The suit claims the men were held four hours longer while the officers claimed they were completing paperwork. Law enforcement sources say the average detention time for arrestees in Queens is about 18 to 19 hours. The incident started about 4p.m. on Aug. 19, when cops approached a group blocking an entrance to Rufus King Park in Jamaica and saw someone throw a bag in a garbage can, a police source said. They began searching members of the group, including the plaintiffs. An unidentified man told officers he had smoked all the marijuana and took off running with a cop in pursuit, according to the suit. When the cop returned, huffing and puffing from the chase, some spectators at a handball game in the park laughed. "'If you think that's funny, watch what I do to them,'" one cop said, the suit alleges. That's when cops moved in on Harvis' clients. The four were initially charged with possession of marijuana found in the bag in the garbage can. A police source familiar with the incident said the men were lawfully arrested for pot possession and tampering with evidence, but that the DA chose not to proceed. The bag recovered at the scene contained 31 glassine envelopes of marijuana, the police source said. "Does that sound like someone smoked all the marijuana?" The NYPD had no official comment. With Alison Gendar -

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