Brooklyn Boro

SKETCHES OF COURT: False arrest case settled during trial

December 29, 2016 By Alba Acevedo Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Court sketch by Alba Acevedo
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In this courtroom sketch Hon. Wavny Toussaint listens during a police detective’s testimony in the false arrest trial Covington v. City of New York. Plaintiff’s attorney Richard Gross (standing), trial counsel to the law office of Matthew Flamm, conducts the cross-examination. Defendant’s attorney Michael Dolgow of the New York City Law Department is at right.

The Brooklyn North precinct officer was on observation patrol with other members of his team in August of 2011 when their van neared a parking lot on Sutter Avenue where, he testified, he saw Ronnie Covington holding an open container. The officer approached Covington and said that he then saw the plaintiff throw bags to the ground. The officer claimed that he recovered two postage-sized glassine envelopes, and arrested Covington for possession of crack cocaine.

The resultant criminal case was ultimately dismissed. Covington currently sought damages for violation of his civil rights, claiming false arrest. He testified to carrying an empty beer can but denied throwing anything to the ground or of being in possession of drugs. 

While the defendants’ position was that there were two probable cause justifications for the arrest, the case settled during trial for $5,000 after cross-examination of the plaintiff. 

To Gross’ right is his associate Matthew Flamm. Court reporter Debbie Smith recorded the proceedings in Kings County Civil Term.  


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