A Queens woman who says a police officer used excessive force when he pepper sprayed her in the face during an arrest is suing the city for $3 million. According to the Daily News, Naeema Screven was rushing to catch the A train at the Broadway station in Brooklyn when she ducked under the yellow tape that divided the staircase into "up" and "down." That's a no-no. When she reached the bottom, she was stopped by Officer Elix Hernandez and asked to show identification.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne says that when Hernandez told Screven she was being arrested, "She began to yell and scream, causing public alarm. The woman then started swinging her arms, preventing the officer from handcuffing her. The officer used pepper spray to aid in effecting the arrest." (The Civilian Complaint Review Board has exonerated Hernandez.) Screven insists that she was not resisting arrest, but taking out her cell phone to call her mother when Hernandez pepper sprayed her without warning. The suit also claims she was falsely accused of knocking over other commuters by running down an "up" staircase.
Screven tells the News that the incident has left her emotionally scarred: "I think if I did something wrong he could have given me a warning. I never thought in a million years that something like that would happen to me. I'm afraid of him [Hernandez], and I'm afraid of stepping foot in that station."