A Bushwick bartender is suing the NYPD after they hauled her from her place of work to arrest her, on the suspicion that she was covering for her boyfriend, who was wanted for allegedly vandalizing a wall across the street.
According to a complaint, 26-year-old Mandy Jo Reinier was minding her business at the Wyckoff watering hole Heavy Woods, where she was working as a bartender, when the cops showed up around 2:30 a.m.:
Defendants searched the premises with flashlights. A defendant officer then flashed a flashlight in Ms. Reinier’s eyes, grabbed her from behind the bar in front of her customers and pulled her outside. Without probable cause or reasonable suspicion to believe she had committed any crime or offense, defendants searched, handcuffed and arrested Ms.Reinier.
Reinier alleged that she was forced to leave the bar unattended as she was stuffed into the patrol car, leading her away in what the complaint calls "unusually tight handcuffs" that caused her wrists to swell.
She was brought to Central Booking on charges of "obstructing governmental administration," but not before she suffered a panic attack in the paddy wagon:
Ms. Reinier suffers from claustrophobia for which she is prescribed medication. Ms. Reinier advised defendants in the van that she was claustrophobic and repeatedly asked if she could get some air as the van was small and had no windows in the back. Defendants refused her request.
The van continued to make stops and pick up additional prisoners during the transport to Central Booking. As the van continued to fill with prisoners, Ms. Reinier pleaded with defendants to stop briefly so she could get out momentarily to avoid having a panic attack. Defendants refused and told her in sum to “shut the fuck up or we’re taking you back to the Precinct.”
Ms. Reinier suffered a panic attack in the van. At Central Booking, Ms. Reinier was told that if she sought medical attention her incarceration would be extended.
Reinier was finally arraigned two days later, having missed approximately three days of work.
She is suing the NYPD for unlawful stop and search, false arrest, unreasonable force, state law assault and battery, denial of Constitutional right to fair trial, intentional infliction of emotional distress and deliberate indifference to medical needs.
The city's law department has denied each of the allegations.
A coworker, who declined to give his name, attributed the debacle to police boredom. He said while he's familiar with many of the cops who patrol the area, he thinks "the situation could definitely have been handled a lot better."
"They just took her. There was no thought about what was going to happen to the bar," he said, adding that fortunately, another bartender happened to be at Heavy Woods at the time of the arrest.
"It was like leaving a ship without a rudder," he said. "It was a mess. If you could have seen it, it was almost jaw dropping."