Monday, May 1, 2017
CORRUPTION: Bronx DA Retaliating Against Cop for Writing Ticket to Council Pol: Suit
A city cop says the Bronx DA is retaliating against her for going public about a ticket-fixing scandal.
NYPD Officer Michele Hernandez sued the city last year, claiming that police brass forced her to rip up a ticket she gave Bronx Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson for yapping on her cellphone while driving.
Hernandez has now amended her $35 million lawsuit to also accuse Bronx DA Darcel Clark and three staffers of misusing their authority to harass and intimidate her as a favor to Gibson — who chairs the council’s Public Safety Committee, which “has jurisdiction and budget control over the Bronx DA,” the suit notes.
The DA’s harassment of Hernandez kicked off in March, when Darcel’s office contacted her union to inform them that she was under investigation, according to the lawsuit.
Hernandez said the DA failed to reach out to her.
DA staffers then demanded that Hernandez appear for questioning, according to the lawsuit. Again, they went behind her lawyer’s back, although this time they reached out to her directly through the NYPD, the lawsuit charges.
On April 25, Hernandez submitted to “testy” questioning about the ticket incident in their offices — but only out of fear she would otherwise be suspended from her job or be arrested, according to the lawsuit.
“This so-called investigation is in retaliation for police Officer Hernandez expressing her First Amendment right to expose public corruption involving these parties,” her lawyer, Eric Sanders, told The Post.
The Bronx DA’s Office declined to comment.
Hernandez’s initial Manhattan federal lawsuit claimed that after she stopped Gibson in March 2014, the councilwoman called Kevin Catalina, then-deputy inspector of the 44th Precinct, to intervene.
Catalina “begged” Hernandez to leave Gibson alone because the councilwoman “meets with the mayor and the police commissioner monthly in her role with the Public Safety Committee,” the lawsuit said.
After agreeing to “void” Gibson’s ticket, Hernandez was subjected to unfair assignments and discipline for her initial “passive” refusal, her lawsuit claimed.