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Times Square Batman 'Psychologically Traumatized' By False Arrest: Lawsuit

By Maya Rajamani | December 30, 2016 2:08pm
 Jose Escalona-Martinez claims he was falsely arrested in Times Square on Feb. 9.
Jose Escalona-Martinez claims he was falsely arrested in Times Square on Feb. 9.
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DNAinfo/Maya Rajamani

MANHATTAN — A Batman impersonator who poses for pictures in Times Square has sued the city yet again — claiming he was falsely arrested for walking through an off-limits area in his superhero costume.

Jose Escalona-Martinez was dressed as the Dark Knight in front of the American Eagle store at 1551 Broadway around 3 p.m. on Feb. 9 when he was handcuffed and arrested “without cause or provocation,” held for 30 minutes and then issued a desk appearance ticket, a suit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court claims.

The case against him was later dismissed, the suit notes.

“... [T]he city of New York, through its police officers, acted intentionally, willfully, knowingly and maliciously in bringing about the false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution of [Escalona-Martinez],” charges the lawsuit, which was filed on Dec. 13.

The costumed character’s arrest left him with “personal injuries, severe mental anguish and psychological trauma," as well as damage to his reputation, it adds.

The lawsuit also accuses the city of hiring police officers who weren't “fit by temperament or personality to be officers" and failing to teach police officers about the civil rights of defendants.

Escalona-Martinez was arrested twice this past February — on Feb. 9 for walking through an area in Times Square that was off-limits to costumed-character solicitation, and again on Feb. 24 for allegedly snatching a $50 bill from a tourist’s wallet.

He previously told DNAinfo the tourist lied about the theft.

The performer — who is seeking unspecified damages and reimbursement for the costs of the suit — also has two other lawsuits pending against the city claiming he was falsely arrested by the NYPD in 2014, Manhattan Supreme Court filings show.

The latest lawsuit comes less than a month after a Times Square Spider-Man impersonator hit the city with his own suit claiming he was falsely arrested and “terrorized” by police in November 2015.

In March 2016, Escalona-Martinez testified against the city's plan to set up designated activity zones for costumed characters in Times Square, claiming they would restrict his Constitutional right to walk freely in his costume.

He and his attorneys did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday.

A spokesman for the city’s law department said the city is reviewing Escalona-Martinez’s claims.