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Trainspotter

Subway rider sues for $3M...

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A Queens woman who was pepper-sprayed for dashing down an up-only subway staircase is suing the city - and the cop who hauled her away in cuffs - for $3 million.

 

Naeema Screven says she was only trying to catch her train, which was pulling into the station, when she zipped down to the A line platform at the Broadway station in Brooklyn.

 

One side of the stairway was designated "down" and the other side "up," the complaint filed in Brooklyn Federal Court said.

 

The "down" side of the stairway was crowded, so she admits she crossed under the yellow tape to the "up" side.

 

When she reached the platform, she was stopped by Officer Elix Hernandez and asked to show identification.

 

When she was told she was being arrested, the suit says, she flipped open her cell phone to call her mother and was doused in the face with pepper spray and handcuffed.

 

"I think if I did something wrong he could have given me a warning," Screven, 21, told the Daily News. "I never thought in a million years that something like that would happen to me."

 

Police say the problem wasn't that she flipped open the phone - the problem was she flipped out.

 

"She began to yell and scream, causing public alarm," said NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne.

 

"The woman then started swinging her arms, preventing the officer from handcuffing her. The officer used pepper spray to aid in effecting the arrest," he said.

 

Screven was charged with disorderly conduct and spent 15 hours in a police lockup.

 

The suit claims she was falsely accused of knocking over other straphangers. Running down an "up" staircase created a "dangerous condition," Browne said.

 

Nonsense, said Screven's lawyer, Alan Levine.

 

"It was absolutely wrong that he used this type of force and overreacted for violating a Transit Authority rule. TA rules of conduct say it is a violation to interfere with access onto or off of an escalator, stairway or elevator," Levine said.

 

Screven said the incident has left her emotionally scarred.

 

Her mother and sister are court stenographers in Queens Criminal Court, and she was raised to respect the law, she insists, but her trust in the NYPD has been shaken.

 

"I'm afraid of him [Hernandez], and I'm afraid of stepping foot in that station," she said.

 

Screven had filed a complaint against the cop with the Civilian Complaint Review Board, Browne said, but the officer was exonerated regarding the use of pepper spray.

 

Her "allegation that she was thrown to the ground was unsubstantiated," he added.

 

BY JOHN MARZULLI

DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

November 13th 2008

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well thats how most of brooklyns and most of the other boroughs train lines are, too much issues... and why would a police officer stop the poor woman? I didnt know the (MTA) enforced the upstairs/downstairs. Cuz I do go on the wrong side all the time, and nops does anything to me.

 

 

Maybe that officer was bored and wanted to find a play mate for fun...;)

 

like i say sometimes : FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS

 

next time force thet TA to pay 1 Billion :D hehe

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There was tape? That's not something I would cross unless I wanted to get a summons. It might have been for construction purposes like a broken step. I guess all of that will come out in court.

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Sue when MTA is hanging fare increase over our heads? Good one. Cop made mistake, woman should simply get a special metrocard in exchange or something, not millions of dollars.

 

- A

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There was tape? That's not something I would cross unless I wanted to get a summons. It might have been for construction purposes like a broken step. I guess all of that will come out in court.

 

No, I've been to the Broadway Junction station. The only way to access the A/C from the J/L/Z is the back staircase. That leads to congestion so they partition the up and down staircases.

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I smell BS on the woman's part. The cops @ Broadway Junction normally don't go around starting stuff. She must have done something to catch their attention. At Broadway-Junction, on the stairs that go into the Manhattan Bound track, they have this long metal barrier with chains that they lock up during the morning rush hour to manage things. On top of the staircase there is a conductor that manages the staircase to make sure that only people go up on the left side and people going down stay to the right.

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Ok, First thing's first... not trying to take sides, but why do NYPD think that they can abuse their police powers? I love working with all the the police agencies across my precincts, but outta all the police agencies, the NYPD takes the cake for being a bunch of holes when SOME of them think they can do what ever they want and get away with it.

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This isn't an MTA issue at all it's a NYPD issue. If she sues the TA it will imediately be thrown out of court. She can sue the city and the NYPD though. The funny thind if this was a TA employee he would be restricted pending investigation and they would be trying to fire him. Since it's a cop nothing will happen.

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This isn't an MTA issue at all it's a NYPD issue. If she sues the TA it will imediately be thrown out of court. She can sue the city and the NYPD though. The funny thind if this was a TA employee he would be restricted pending investigation and they would be trying to fire him. Since it's a cop nothing will happen.

 

You could sue the TA if there is faulty infrastructure and something hits you on the head.

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You could sue the TA if there is faulty infrastructure and something hits you on the head.

 

 

Yeah but that's not what happened.

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Trying to go down the up staircase is just stupid. What's amazing is that people win these cases even though what they did is against common sense. Throw this case out of court! Simply following the rules can't hurt!

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Trying to go down the up staircase is just stupid. What's amazing is that people win these cases even though what they did is against common sense. Throw this case out of court! Simply following the rules can't hurt!

 

You don't know that she'll win. Even if she does win, it wouldn't be due to that staircase argument, it would be because the officer used excessive force (with the mace on her). I don't know why that officer made such a big stint over her going the wrong direction-- especially if there aren't a crowd rushing against her. Sometimes people have to make connections with buses. I don't understand how she was stopped for going under the tape though... maybe he thought she was up to no good? As of this moment it isn't as if the story was throughly investigated or any witnesses were out saying this or that happened.

 

In any case, even if it does make it through court, they'll just end up settling. Probably not the amount that she's asking for though.

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You don't know that she'll win. Even if she does win, it wouldn't be due to that staircase argument, it would be because the officer used excessive force (with the mace on her). I don't know why that officer made such a big stint over her going the wrong direction-- especially if there aren't a crowd rushing against her. Sometimes people have to make connections with buses. I don't understand how she was stopped for going under the tape though... maybe he thought she was up to no good? As of this moment it isn't as if the story was throughly investigated or any witnesses were out saying this or that happened.

 

In any case, even if it does make it through court, they'll just end up settling. Probably not the amount that she's asking for though.

I guess you've never been to Broadway-Junction during rush hour to see why they have conductors there making sure that when that system is in effect that only people come up on the left side of the staircase and that people go down on the right side.

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I guess you've never been to Broadway-Junction during rush hour to see why they have conductors there making sure that when that system is in effect that only people come up on the left side of the staircase and that people go down on the right side.

 

I've commuted to Broadway Junction during the morning rush hours. They have a conductor on platform duty working at the end where the stairways are-- and I'm very well aware of that. True, it's pandemonium, as there is always a horde of people going one way, and a horde of people going the other. Even if that's so, sometimes there is a break in crowd. If she was going when there was that lull, what was the point to being maced?

 

Like I said, we don't know the whole story. Just allegations.

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Ok, First thing's first... not trying to take sides, but why do NYPD think that they can abuse their police powers? I love working with all the the police agencies across my precincts, but outta all the police agencies, the NYPD takes the cake for being a bunch of holes when SOME of them think they can do what ever they want and get away with it.

 

He didn't abuse his powers, as a former Member of Service to NYPD as a PO I can reiterate. Now I wasn't there so I do not know the conversation the PO had with the person but when a PO tells you that your under arrest it doesn't mean its time to go into your pockets or purses.

 

That is the number one no no first of all he does not know what shes pulling out. Secondly the story from the dept commish says she began swinging her arms around that my friends is resisting arrest. I don't agree with the pepper spray specially in the subway others can get the contact and that stuff sucks when inhaled. She should have just listen to him in the first place and she wouldn't have put herself into the predicament that shes in. As a Conductor I seen guys put up fights with the cops about walking between cars. I mean come on cant you see the sign right on the window that says no walking between train cars unless directed by police or train crew.

 

I hope the court tosses this out the window and the judge tells her cause shes gonna definitely admit that she violated TA rules due to the stair issue. I hope the judge says next time get to your train earlier and follow the rules of the subway.

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If there was yellow tape, she shouldn't have trespassed. It's common sense. She's lucky the tape wasn't there for a really serious hazard...she could have gotten hurt much worse--bet she would have sued then, too. People are so quick to sue and claim that they are "emotionally scarred" from such minor things.

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You don't know that she'll win.

 

I'm just saying, that people do win these kind of cases, even though something wrong that they did started the whole ruckus. It's common sense not to go where you're not allowed. Lemme just say that I agree with Bruticus completely.

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Yeah but that's not what happened.

 

Yea I know... I'm just saying that suing the MTA because a cop pepper sprayed you would not work.

I'm not making a general statement but I think some cops in the city are overreacting sometimes. Remember Sean Bell and the 50 shots? Well yea, they thought they got firearms. But that doesn't allow the cops to fire shots at people whom do not pose a direct threat to them.

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Yea I know... I'm just saying that suing the MTA because a cop pepper sprayed you would not work.

I'm not making a general statement but I think some cops in the city are overreacting sometimes. Remember Sean Bell and the 50 shots? Well yea, they thought they got firearms. But that doesn't allow the cops to fire shots at people whom do not pose a direct threat to them.

If someone is trying to run you over with a car, that's a direct threat.

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The problem here is the dollar amount...people think of law suits as a second job, a cheap way to make a lot of money if some little s*** gets done to you....ok so you got sprayed you should get something, maybe 100 bucks for your time with an im sorry note on behalf of the NYPD but 3 MILLION DOLLARS??? HELL NO... if you told me all i had to do was let a cop pepper spray me for TEN GRAND i would take it...but the problem is greed and lawyers. she sees a cheap way to make money and thinks i oughta sue and sits down with a lawyer. the lawyer sees a cheap way to make money so he takes the case and hopes for a settlement since maybe the city would rather pay them a hundred grand than pay ANOTHER lawyer and risk losing the case, meanwhile the first lawyer and the woman decide to sue for a large amount because "why not?" and all you wind up with is just another example of how lawsuit happy and messed up the legal system has become.

Edited by SubwayGuy

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10 Grand, hell I would hit pepper sprayed for $1000 as long as the cop get me a gallon of water to wash my eyes out. I personally think she brought it upon her self by going for her phone. How does the officer know if she is going for a gun or a knife? It could have been worse for her, he could have used an ASP (expandable baton) on her and they can break bones. Thing like this would not happen if people knew how to act when stopped by the police, usually the officer is more afraid of you because he does not know what you might do. I hope the judge throws this out or removes the (MTA) from the suite. With the looming fare hike, this women is greedy deserves nothing other then a sorry.

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