Police Harassment of Panhandler Should Stop Says New York Civil Rights Violation Lawyer

by The Perecman Firm
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New York civil rights violation lawyer David Perecman comments on the police harassment lawsuit filed by Sojourner Hardeman, a homeless panhandler.

“It’s the right of any citizen to be able to file for police harassment. Civil rights laws protect all citizens in their civil and legal rights,” said Perecman, a New York civil rights violation lawyer for over 30 years.

Hardeman filed the police harassment lawsuit after she was arrested while soliciting money. The police harassment lawsuit stemmed from an encounter in late March.

According to the New York Daily News, Sojourner Hardeman was arrested in the spring for disorderly conduct while “sitting quietly in front of a shuttered store on Fifth Avenue” where she panhandles and advertises her office skills with a cardboard sign.

As reported by The New York Times, two officers asked her for identification and she told them she had none. The officers then arrested her. She was taken to the Midtown North Precinct station house, where she was detained for approximately five hours and then released without charge.

Two months later, Hardeman filed a civil rights violation lawsuit alleging that the arresting officers had violated her 4th and 14th Amendment rights.

According to Hardeman's civil rights violation complaint, officers approached her four times over the summer and ordered her to vacate her spot.

Hardeman said she refused to leave. On one occasion, officers handed her a disorderly conduct summons, saying she was blocking pedestrians, a charge with Hardeman denies. On another occasion, Hardeman said, NYPD officers briefly handcuffed her and had her sit in the back of a police car before issuing another disorderly conduct summons.

After Hardeman complained to the judge that officers had harassed her repeatedly after she filed the civil rights violation lawsuit in New York, the judge ordered NYC officers not to arrest or issue a summons to Hardeman unless they had probable cause. He also directed the city to educate Midtown North Precinct officers about what "disorderly conduct" means.

“The police must never violate the civil rights of any New Yorkers. The police can not accost individuals without probable cause, nor can they harass a citizen because he or she is homeless,” said Perecman, founder of The Perecman Firm, one of New York’s civil rights violation law firms.

Because of their complexity, New York civil rights violation cases require representation by a lawyer well versed in constitutional issues. New York civil rights violation lawyers at The Perecman Firm have the experience needed to build strong cases regarding matters involving federal, state and New York City laws that protect an individual’s civil rights.

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