Imani Brown, who was pepper sprayed by an NYPD officer during a 2011 arrest, can sue for excessive force, a New York appeals court ruled Wednesday.
The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan overturned an earlier decision to dismiss the civil suit Brown filed against Officers Justin Naimoli and Theaorode Plevritis this past June. The City Law Department is now reviewing the new court ruling.
According to Brown, she was trying to use a Starbucks bathroom on Nov. 15, 2011, leading to the altercation with Naimoli and Plevritis. The Occupy Wall Street protester claims one of the cops told her to “p**s in the park,” referencing Zuccotti Park, the location of an OCW camp raided by NYPD raided hours earlier.
The cops claim they approached Brown after receiving a 911 call from a Starbucks employee about someone banging on the window. They assert that Brown refused to hand over her identification, which led to a struggle.
Brown’s arrest was caught on tape, although the video picks up where officers are attempting to handcuff her, as she squirms. Officers yell back at her to “Stop resisting!” several times, while she continues to wiggle her hands away.
As the two officers wrestle Brown to the ground, a crowd collects. “She wanted to use the bathroom at Starbucks, she was banging on the door asking them to let her use the bathroom, and they called the cops on her,” says a witness standing feet from Brown as the two officers try to get her cuffed, pushing her head into the concrete, while her skirt rides up.
Brown says she was trying to pull her skirt down when the officer pepper sprayed her the first time. She is pepper sprayed again, as more officers arrive and the crowd continues to swell.
Brown is then carted off to a squad car and is heard asking the officer to pull her skirt down. He allegedly replied: “No, it wouldn’t have been like that, if you weren’t causing trouble.”
All charges against Brown were later dropped.
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(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)