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Falsely Arrested Former Teacher Files $15 Mil. Notice to Sue

New York Civil Rights Attorney Eric Sanders, Esq., of The Sanders Firm, P.C., alleges in a $15 million Notice of Claim filing that the arresting officer ‘Abused his police authority

On April 9, 2013, Mrs. Fermina Pena, arrested charged with Criminal Possession of Stolen Property in the Fifth Degree for possessing a stolen Apple iPad Mini purchased outside of her presence by another former co-worker Ms. Sabina DeLeon. This overzealous police ‘fencing operation’ occurred inside of McDonald’s Store No.: 2408, 300 East 204th Street Bronx, N.Y. Mrs. Pena says that UC No.: 934338, an unidentified Caucasian Male police officer, Arresting Officer Police Officer Bryan Delarosa, and Sergeant Bryan Pocalalyko under the direct supervision of Commanding Officer Deputy Inspector Joseph Dowling of the 52nd Precinct operated an overzealous ‘fencing operation’ without the proper training and/or supervision. The sole purpose of this ‘fencing operation’ was to generate ‘numbers’ to make it appear that the police are being proactive in preventing and reducing crime but, in reality, they are ‘entrapping’ innocent economically deprived citizens mainly persons of color.

At the time of this alleged ‘fencing operation’, Mrs. Pena was inside of Foodtown 283 East 204th Street Bronx, N.Y., making a purchase. She was with two other former female co-workers. At no time during or after this ‘fencing operation’ did she enter McDonald’s Store No.: 2408. Nor did Mrs. Pena have any direct knowledge of anything that may have occurred inside of McDonald’s Store No.: 2408.

After making purchases, Mrs. Pena and her co-workers walked towards McDonald’s Store No.: 2408, where they met with Ms. DeLeon. Ms. DeLeon asked Mrs. Pena to hold an Apple iPad Mini, she complied and placed the device inside of her Foodtown bag.

Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Pena along with the other women were ‘stopped’ by Police Officer Bryan Delarosa and Sergeant Bryan Pocalalyko. They requested identification from all of the women. Mrs. Pena told Sergeant Pocalalyko that her husband is a retired NYPD sergeant. After Sergeant Pocalalyko accused Mrs. Pena of possessing ‘fake id’ the women were released.

A short time later after following Mrs. Pena and the other women to their place of employment, Police Officer Delarosa handcuffed Ms. Deleon, then Sergeant Pocalalyko ordered him to arrest her too. She along with Ms. Deleon were driven inside of the police van for a period of time while the police performed other ‘fencing’ operations and making arrests. Several hours later, Mrs. Pena was released with a Desk Appearance Ticket. According to police documents, Police Officer Delarosa intentionally falsely claimed that Mrs. Pena and Ms. Deleon were ‘acting in concert.’

Mrs. Pena was immediately suspended then eventually fired. A few weeks ago, the Bronx District Attorney’s Office dismissed all charges against her.

“These police stings, executed solely for ‘numbers,’ are just as intrusive and violative of the U.S. Constitution as the recently determined ‘Stop and Frisk’ policy. This unfettered police activity has hurt Mrs. Pena as well as countless others. In this case, the arresting officer intentionally ‘lied’ about Mrs. Pena’s conduct. There was no mistake. The sad reality is that there is no reasonable prospect that the arresting officer, his supervisor or any other police officer involved will ever be held criminally accountable for their unlawful conduct. Mrs. Pena is just another faceless ‘number’ to the Kelly and Bloomberg administrations, that care more about their personal ‘legacies’ than the citizens of New York,” says Eric Sanders.

Mrs. Pena filed a Notice of Claim with the New York City Comptroller’s Office on May 15, 2013.

The Sanders Firm, P.C., is a nationally recognized law firm located in New York, NY, serving clients throughout the five (5) boroughs of the City of New York: Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island as well as Nassau, Orange, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, focused on cases involving civil rights, civil service law, criminal law, and discrimination.

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