Woman Claims Cops Arrested Her for Criticizing Stop-and-Frisk
MANHATTAN — A Brooklyn woman who criticized the controversial NYPD stop-and-frisk policy in front of a Murray Hill bar claims she was arrested by officers on the spot, according to court documents.
Kaylan Pedine, a 30-year-old social worker who lives in Greenpoint, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court Wednesday, arguing that her First Amendment rights were violated this summer when an officer unlawfully arrested her for speaking her mind, according to court documents. The trumped-up charges — of blocking vehicular traffic — were later tossed out, according to the lawsuit.
Pedine claims the problems started when she was talking to her friends the night of July 6 outside of Mercury Bar, located at 493 Third Ave., and spotted a pair of uniformed NYPD cops passing by, according to the lawsuit.
She turned to her friends and said, “I wish they would stop stop-and-frisk,” the lawsuit says.
“Ms. Pedine directed her comment towards her friend, not the police officers,” the lawsuit states. “Moreover, Ms. Pedine used a calm and relaxed tone when she made the comment. She did not yell or raise her voice, and she did not approach the officers when making the comment.”
Upon hearing the words, one of the cops, Officer Craig Campion, told Pedine to “turn around,” handcuffed her, and took her to a nearby precinct, where she was detained in a jail cell for about an hour, the lawsuit says.
"You just feel so powerless," said Pedine. "I asked three times what I did wrong before I got an answer and asked to see a supervisor but was ignored...It's dehumanizing.
"It was honestly a shock, but at the same time it wasn't because I'm aware of the injustice that sometimes happens. It happens all the time."
Once Pedine was released from custody, she was issued a criminal court summons that charged her with disorderly conduct by "blocking vehicular traffic," according to the lawsuit.
Despite the claim, Pedine was standing on the sidewalk during the time of the incident and was not in the street at all, the lawsuit argues.
“Simply put, all of Officer Campion’s allegations are complete falsehoods,” the lawsuit says. “Ms. Pedine was not blocking any pedestrian or vehicular traffic whatsoever. She was standing still on the sidewalk, next to a planter.
“The only possible explanation for Ms. Pedine’s arrest was that it was made in direct retaliation for her comments concerning the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy,” the lawsuit states.
During her first Criminal Court appearance, Pedine pleaded not guilty and the court ultimately dismissed the charge due to "facial insufficiency," which means that even if the officer's claims were true, Pedine was not in violation of any crime, according to Robert Quackenbush, one of Pedine's attorneys.
Now, Pedine is demanding compensation for violation of her constitutional rights and is seeking punitive damages against officer Campion.
“I believe that the more awareness we can bring regarding Stop and Frisk policy, the more opportunities arise for authentic conversations about solution and changing this policy,” said Pedine in a written statement. “There is a reason people say ‘ignorance is bliss.' However, I want to be a voice that firmly says, ‘enough is enough.’”
A spokeswoman for the New York City Law Department said that they hadn't received the case yet.
"We will review the papers upon receipt," she said.