At 8 a.m. on October 12, Yocasta Reyes heard loud knocking on the front door of her Morris Heights apartment. Six police officers were there to arrest her. She spent the next 15 hours locked up in holding cells, waiting to stand before a judge at the New York County Criminal Court.
All this because she’d gotten a citation for double parking, according to a complaint she filed on Thursday in New York State Supreme Court in the Bronx. More importantly, she claims, all this for a ticket that she’d already paid.
Authorities brought her before a judge at around 11:15 p.m. The judge quickly dismissed the charge without discussion, says Reyes’ lawyer, Lance Barnett, citing the court transcript. And just like that Reyes was free to go.
Perhaps the judge noticed the apparent mistake.
The criminal court docket showed that Reyes had been charged with violating New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 16-122, which is for “obstructing vehicular traffic by means of a motor vehicle.”
She received the traffic summons on January 17, 2012. But, as her receipts showed, she paid it on February 15, at 1:21 p.m.
Unpaid citations can lead to arrest warrants. “At this point it’s not clear” why the police were under the impression that she hadn’t paid the ticket, says Barnett.
“Why they needed multiple officers on a double parking [arrest warrant], I don’t know,” he added. “What is clear is she has proof of payment and she should not have been detained and handcuffed.”
The complaint describes that Reyes was “humiliated” when she was walked out of her apartment building in handcuffs and “paraded in full view of her neighbors and other in the community.” Barnett notes that she has been receiving treatment for “psychological issues over this.”
The city, the NYPD, and the six unnamed officers are listed as defendants in the complaint.