67-year-old, Arles Cepeda, a retired medical secretary and widowed mother of one, was arrested and ultimately humiliated when Detective Theodore Stefatos and two other police officers showed up at her Castle Hill apartment to arrest her on December 4, 2012. The crime.. calling 911 and 311 over 44 times for the past 15 months. She is now filing a lawsuit against the NYPD.
According to the Daily News, Cepeda saw two men she thought were drug dealers where she was told twice to mind her business. She says she called the police but when they searched the apartment above her for any drug activity and came up with nothing, they turned the tables on her. Officers threw her into the 43rd Precinct where she was fingerprinted and put in a cell to be processed and after several hours she was released with a desk ticket charging her with a misdemeanor count of offering a false instrument for filing.
“I was handcuffed behind my back,” she said, fighting back tears. “And my neighbors saw me. I was so embarrassed.”
She also talks about how Detective Stefatos added insult to injury when he allegedly said,“if you continue calling, I’m gonna take you to the pysch unit at Jacobi Hospital.”
Cepeda, says she only called 911 twice since she moved to the apartment and that most of the calls were complaints about drugs and others were about excessive noise in the hallways and building maintenance like broken elevators, all of which she says fell on deaf ears. Samuel Cohen who is representing Cepeda, says that the charge is ridiculous because she never filed anything in writing and arresting her for phone calls violates her First Amendment rights.“The danger is people will be afraid to report conditions to the government,” Cohen said, ironically Cepeda says she hasn’t called any of the emergency hotlines since her arrest.
However when she showed up for her court case she was told she had no case. Her lawyer believes that the officers never sent any paperwork to the district attorney’s office because they had no record of any charges against Cepeda.
What do you think about this one? I thought it was “if you see something say something” why keep constantly having the annoying automated voice on the subway say it if it doesn’t mean anything? But then again how much is too much is 44 times a bit excessive? Let’s chat below.
SOURCES SITED: THE DAILY NEWS
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