An ex-Playboy playmate stripped the city of a $1.2 million payout Tuesday after suing the cops for manhandling her.
A Manhattan jury of four women and two men took 81/2 hours deliberating before tossing fistfuls of money at Miss November 1992, Stephanie Adams, 41, for the injuries she suffered in a 2006 scuffle with police.
The former Bunny’s tale was so compelling that jurors doled awarded her $385,000 more than her lawyer asked for.
Adams, the first openly lesbian Playmate, said cops threw her to the ground at gunpoint after a bizarre confrontation with a cabbie who falsely told them she “flashed vampire teeth” and was going to shoot him.
Adams got into it with the hack, Erik Darko, on Ninth Ave. after he refused to carry her clothing into her Chelsea apartment on May 25, 2006.
Darko, who had his taxi license yanked after the fracas, called her a “b---h” and slammed the door on her stomach.
The cabbie called police, and when they arrived, cops said, Adams refused their commands to get on her face.
She says she was wearing skintight jeans and a bare-midriff shirt, and that she immediately obeyed the cops’ commands and spread her arms wide to show she was unarmed.
Sgt. John Rajan told the jury he made a “controlled drop to the ground” to subdue the centerfold. “We didn’t know if she had a firearm,” he testified.
Later, he admitted that she “was wearing tight-fitting clothing, and there was no place to conceal a weapon.”
Adams, who claims to be a direct descendant of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, said the rough treatment gave her permanent neck and back injuries. The jury sympathized.
I put myself — I put my daughter — in her shoes and wondered if this could not have been handled more judiciously,” said a middle-aged woman who sat on the jury. “He not only threw her to the ground, he was holding her there, even though he could see she was not armed. It felt like it was too much.”
More than $1 million of the jury award is for future pain and suffering and medical bills. Experts said that it was highly unusual for the jury to award more money than the lawyers had asked for.
Adams, who was once a model and now peddles astrological literature, aromatherapy oil and custom-blended herbs, hopes to get back on the runway after her injuries have fully heeled.
When she appeared in Playboy, she declared herself the first openly lesbian Playmate and was celebrated by the gay community. She is now married to a man and has a 1-year-old son.
I was praying for justice and waited six years to speak my truth in court and I’m very grateful for the closure and the healing,” Adams said, holding her son, Vincent, on her hip.
The city Law Department said that it could ask the judge to reduce the payout or overturn the jury’s verdict. The city also has 45 days to appeal the case.
“This jury verdict demonstrates that there is a serious problem in this city regarding excessive use of force of our police against ordinary citizens. This must be addressed by the appropriate city officials,” said Adams’ lawyer Sanford Rubenstein.