Wednesday, November 24, 2010
My humiliation at hands of NYPD
A woman seven months pregnant says she was wrongly handcuffed, strip-searched and humiliated by cops who mistook her for a drug dealer.
Stephanie Badillo, 19, was inadvertently caught in an NYPD drug sweep and held in custody for more than two days before prosecutors admitted they had "insufficient evidence" and released her, she told The Post.
Now The Bronx woman is suing the city and the NYPD for false arrest, violating her civil rights, and emotional damages.
"I was afraid for the life of my baby," she said yesterday. "I couldn't do anything."
Badillo said the trouble started on Nov. 5 when she entered the lobby of her boyfriend's Tremont apartment building and was busted along with eight others.
Cops showed a "lack of judgment," said her lawyer, Neil Wollerstein. "To have her sit in a jail for three days without a lawyer or being able to see a judge rings with injustice."
According to police, Badillo was arrested along with everyone else in the lobby -- including her boyfriend -- because heroin was present.
An NYPD spokeswoman said Badillo was in custody for 25 hours -- from just before midnight on Nov. 5 to just after midnight on Nov. 7.
The visibly pregnant Badillo contends she arrived at her boyfriend's apartment at around 11:30 p.m. Friday, was initially taken to the 48th Precinct station house and did not get released from Central Booking until 3:45 a.m. Monday -- a total of more than 50 hours.
The Bronx DA's Office would say only that it declined to prosecute, citing "insufficient evidence."
"They strip-searched me -- they made me pull my pants down, pull my shirt up and bend over," she said. "I was embarrassed, nervous and scared," Badillo said.
During her time in police custody she did not sleep or eat, she said.
After her release, the anxious mom-to-be immediately made an appointment with her obstetrician to check on the health of her baby.
"You would think they would extend a courtesy to a seven-months-pregnant woman," her lawyer said.
Badillo's boyfriend, Jordan Alvarez, was released a few hours after her, she told The Post.
She said she had been rounded up in a similar manner in August and set free.