Judge: WTC Worker’s Wrongful Arrest Suit Can Go Forward


A Spanish-speaking construction worker on the World Trade Center site, who sued the city for personal injury after he was arrested while leaving work, won the right to continue his lawsuit last Friday.

Jose Jimenez, a laborer who worked the overnight shift at the disaster site, was searched at a police checkpoint as he was heading home in the early morning. In his bag, the police found a respirator that he had brought from home, and some clothes with the price tags still on them. Assuming he had stolen the clothes, they arrested him for criminal possession of stolen property.

Jimenez has actually gotten the clothes from members of the Red Cross that were distributing them at the site, and a Red Cross worker later testified on his behalf, causing his case to be dismissed. The officers didn’t ask him how he got them, and made no attempt to speak to him in Spanish, his primary language.

The city had tried to get state Supreme Court judge Saliann Scarpulla to throw out Jimenez’s lawsuit on the grounds that the officer had probable cause to arrest him, but the judge didn’t go for it. Photo (cc) terryballard.