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Bad Karma: Brooklyn cop named Karma sued for alleged unconstitutional arrest

May 29, 2019 Noah Goldberg
Police siren. Photo by Scott Roth/Invision/AP
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Karma stinks, and so does his precinct — at least, according to one Brooklyn woman who is suing the NYPD.

Juliese Walton filed a lawsuit against 70th Precinct police officers Danny Karma and Nicholas Delvaccia — and 10 other unnamed officers in the same precinct — on May 21. She was arrested at a traffic stop on Ocean Parkway by the officers in question in February 2018 — an arrest she claims was unconstitutional.

Walton was riding as a passenger in a friend’s car when cops, including Karma and Delvaccia, pulled them over for having “excessively tinted windows,” said Katherine Smith, who is representing Walton in the Brooklyn Supreme Court lawsuit.

According to Smith, police said they smelled marijuana in the car, which Walton denies.

“[Police] are claiming that the two people admitted that they had been smoking marijuana. And then they’re saying my client said ‘I have marijuana on me,'” Smith said.

But in the lawsuit, Walton alleges that cops unlawfully searched her and found no contraband.

“Notwithstanding the fact that defendants had no probable cause to believe that [Walton] had committed any crimes or offenses, defendants placed [Walton] into handcuffs and under arrest,” the lawsuit states.

The cops then took her and the driver of the vehicle to the 70th Precinct. There, Karma and Delvaccia “falsely informed” the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office of the alleged crimes that Walton committed.

But the DA declined to prosecute Walton’s case at all, according to Smith and the lawsuit. “They threw her case out before she even saw a judge,” Smith said.

“We haven’t had a chance to review this suit yet. Once we are served, we will review the complaint,” said a spokesperson for the city’s Corporation Counsel.

“The NYPD cannot comment on the specifics of an ongoing case or active lawsuit. The fact that a lawsuit is filed does not mean it has factual or legal merit. The NYPD works with the City Law Department to evaluate the specifics of each case, and the long-term best interest of the City,” said a spokesperson for the NYPD.

“We hope that this lawsuit will draw attention to, and attempt to stymie, unlawful policing practices and get Ms. Walton the justice she deserves. We must ensure that NYPD respects the civil rights of all citizens,” Smith said. “Everyone will get the karma they are due.”

Update (5:10 p.m.): This article has been updated with a comment from an NYPD spokesperson in response to the lawsuit.

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