The New York City Police Department picked the wrong one.
In April 2015, Oliver Wiggins was driving through Brooklyn, N.Y., when a police officer in a marked SUV ran through a stop sign and crashed into his car.
Still, it was Wiggins who was arrested in an attempt to cover up the cop’s first mistake. But the second, more costly mistake was when officers charged Wiggins, a man who doesn’t drink, with a DWI.
Because of the attempted framing by the police, the 33-year-old Wiggins just won nearly $1 million from the city in a settlement, the New York Daily News reports. City officials had decided to avoid a trial.
The false DWI caused Wiggins to have his driver’s license suspended, and he had to front the repair costs for his 2004 Nissan Maxima because his insurance company wouldn’t cover the damages. Wiggins’ lawyer, Scott Rynecki, also said that Wiggins suffered significant injuries that required him to have surgery on his wrist.
All this despite the fact that blood alcohol tests administered to Wiggins at the scene of the crash and at the hospital detected no alcohol.
The Daily News writes that Justin Joseph, the arresting officer, officially reported Wiggins having “slurred speech, watery eyes, an odor of alcohol on his breath and was observed swaying.” Yet an on-scene Breathalyzer came up negative. At the hospital, Wiggins volunteered to have his blood tested for alcohol or drugs, and those tests came back negative as well. EMT and DWI technicians also confirmed that Wiggins showed no signs of intoxication.
Prosecutors eventually dropped the charges against Wiggins, but not until three months after his arrest.
The experience pushed the Brooklyn man to become a corrections officer. Rynecki told the Daily News that being wrongfully arrested “really made him understand the power of the badge.”
As for the officers who smeared Wiggins—Joseph, Jason Conway, Greg Gingo, Matthew Sabella and Chris Connor—after the charges against him were dropped, Wiggins wrote to then-District Attorney Kenneth Thompson asking that the officers’ actions be investigated.
The Daily News reports that no charges have been filed against the officers and that they’re all still employed by the NYPD.