College Student Arrested and Held for 36 Hours for Being in Riverside Park Without ID

You could say the NYPD is having a PR problem. In the wake of tales of ticket fixing, planting drugs on innocent people, gun-smuggling, "rape cops," accusations of police brutality, and pepper spraying incidents, there's a pretty damning story in the New York Times today about 21-year-old Samantha Zucker, a Carnegie Mellon senior in town with a group of students looking for jobs. Zucker happened to be in Riverside Park a couple hours after it closed at 1 a.m. on October 22 (she wanted to see the Hudson). There, she and a classmate, Alex Fischer, were stopped by the police and given tickets for trespassing. Fischer showed ID and was allowed to leave; Zucker had left her wallet at her hotel, and, when she couldn't show a driver's license, was handcuffed, arrested, and held for 36 hours. She also, she says, was mocked by the arresting officer, identified in court papers as Police Officer Durrell of the 26th Precinct.

"He was telling me that I needed to get a new boyfriend, that I should get a guy who takes me out to dinner," Ms. Zucker said. "He mocked me for being from Westchester."

After she was moved from a cell at the 26th Precinct to West 126th Street to central booking in downtown Manhattan and then back to Harlem, she was brought back downtown, had another night in custody, and then, finally before a judge, had her ticket dismissed "in less than a minute." The cops refused to let her get someone else to bring her identification from the hotel, apparently. Also worrisome: "The female officers were gossiping that the officer who arrested me had an incredibly short fuse," Zucker told the Times.

The Times points out that "such arrests are a drain on the human economy" and "About 40,000 people a year -- the vast majority of them young black and Latino men -- are fed like widgets onto a conveyor belt of arrest, booking and court, after being told to empty their pockets and thus commit the misdemeanor of 'open display' of marijuana."

Zucker, of course, is a woman, college-educated, and white, a fact lost on no one, surely not the short-fused cop who arrested her and made fun of her boyfriend (who was actually just a friend). This reminds us a bit of the woman who was allegedly pulled over and threatened with a ticket by an NYPD office last summer for biking in a skirt. A pointless arrest, yeah -- unless it draws attention to a real (not just PR) problem, and helps spur change for people for whom it's actually not just a pointless arrest.

We've reached out to the NYPD for comment.

Dismal Tale of Arrest for Tiniest of Crimes [NYT]

[JDoll / @thisisjendoll]

Go to Runnin' Scared for all our latest news coverage.

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17 comments
Christina Berg
Christina Berg

The article ignores the fact that even if she had ID and no outstanding warrants, she could have still spend 36 hours, while someone arrested for a felony could spend no time at all, summons.

Christina Berg
Christina Berg

Not having ID is not  a crime, but if a crime was committed and one has no ID, what should happen, its by default that a person then is taken in, but a simple phone call and summonscould have done it. The officer of course,should have asked her what type of ID she has, if it were a driver's license it could be looked up, trespassing may be just a violation.

It appears that the case has not BEEN dismissed, just adjourned for dismissal, the charge was an unclassified misdemeanor.

jkansier
jkansier

Partially in agreement with M.Pace-this is not news. However,I believe it's another pseudo-politico to separate class structure demographically.If so (this a must because the journalism is so poor) this a left stab at thecop right. Truthfully, if it had been a young, black student with twice the SATscore...the person would have received 30 days for vagrancy (especially male).

Aliikane10
Aliikane10

I have the ultimate respect the police. They put their necks on the line everyday in dangerous situations for keeping order. However, just a few bad cops can give police a bad name. They should of never brought her into jail for that.  I had an experience where my house got broken into once and I called the police. After the police showed up one of the cops was scolding me and said that it was my own fault that my house got broken into. I was totally taken back that he was saying stuff like that. I still don't have a clue why he was coming down on me for my house  that got broken into.  It was strange like the twilight zone. 

subvet4
subvet4

Durell is actually the poster child of someone who should not be a cop. Anyone who has a child should not feel comfortable with this psyco in a patrol car , the man is a disgrace and if the NYPD expects to have any creditability they should get rid of him ASAP

Jorge Brito
Jorge Brito

They were just good friends and nothing more. She has no bf and he has no gf. Good way to be since they are so young. He should help her to get out of this probation as a good friend that he is of hers. They are both living there alone and they do not have family there in NY with them. Poor chick, she did nothing wrong. The law over acts sometimes and that is what happened in this case. There is no law stating that they need ID to be in the park after hours. I bet she is crying and all desperate, inpatient. She should sue and if she does she will win big time. They treated her like if she was a delinquent and now she has to wait for her trial day. It is too bad she is still on probation. Good luck to her and to her male friend as well. I hope he can help her since he is the only one she has there in NY.

yetisoup
yetisoup

Maybe we could help make Officer Durrell's life miserable for a bit.  Why not find out where Officer Durrell lives, post it on the VV Web site for all to see, then sit back and watch the fun!,

M. Pace
M. Pace

Wow, a VV article based on a NYT article, just the same way that a typical teenager copies from an encyclopedia to write a school paper -- changing a few words here and there, maybe rearranging a few sentences, but nothing more.  Heaven forbid that a finger be lifted to actually do reporting.

Christina Berg
Christina Berg

Well the charge was not dismissed, it was unclassified crime, no ID, so taken in, of course the NYPD should have been more careful, 5 minutes and questions.

bb
bb

No.  Al Sharptom and Jessie Jackson would be asking the ACLU to kick some ass. 

Christina Berg
Christina Berg

True, but the person had NO ID, its not a crime not to have one, but the person was arrested for a crime, .

Christina Berg
Christina Berg

Actions like these happen all the time, even if she had ID, she could have spent 36 hours.

subvet4
subvet4

The girl spent 36 hous in jail for nothing isn't that enough, jerks like you only confuse the issue

Jdoll
Jdoll

far more fingers were lifted in the writing of this post than in the writing of your lovely comment. Is "blog" in the encyclopedia these days?

Christina Berg
Christina Berg

No, she didn't have ID, not a crime not to have one, but she was arrested, wrongfully probably, could the NYPD used more sense, of course they don't, but this happens all the time, its just a outrage post.

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