New York City paid out $45,000 to a Bronx teen who filed a lawsuit after being arrested on drummed-up charges after rejecting a police officer’s advances, the New York Post reports.
Natalie Erlich, who was 17 at the time, says that she was hanging out with two female friends, grabbing a snack, after school in late 2013, when the trio was approached by Police Officer José Peinan and another officer.
“I had on a camouflage hat and [Peinan] had on camouflage pants,” the now-19-year-old told the Post. “He said, ‘We match.’ I brushed him off and I laughed.”
Erlich then left and went to buy a cup of hot cocoa, only to find that Peinan was following her.
“He said something slick like, ‘Where are you going?’” the teen recalled to the Post. “I said, ‘I’m going home.’”
Erlich said she inquired whether Peinan, who was in plain clothes, was a cop, to which he replied, “Maybe.”
Erlich quipped that that sounded like a “cop answer.” Seconds later she found herself surrounded when a van pulled up and four more NYPD officers got out.
Peinan reportedly ordered his colleagues to cuff the teen.
“He said she blew his cover,” Erlich’s mother said.
The teen said that when she demanded to know why she was being arrested, Peinan responded, “You know why—you’re being a smart-ass.”
Officers searched the teen before putting her and a friend, Marie Gonzalez, in the back of a police van and taking them to a station house. Erlich wasn’t released until 11 a.m. the following day.
In her lawsuit, the teen claimed that she was arrested because Peinan was “angered at having his advances rebuffed,” court documents outlined, according to the Post.
“Peinan then unlawfully subjected the two completely innocent women to approximately 19 hours of detention and charged them with obstruction of governmental administration,” the lawsuit continued.
The claim also accused a male cop of “touching her breasts” while Erlich was being frisked.
The city agreed to the settlement last week, and charges against both teens were subsequently dropped.
Read more at the New York Post.