NEW YORK -- A New York City woman filed a lawsuit on Wednesday alleging that she was arrested for criticizing the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk policy. The suit comes just as lawyers prepare to put the department policy on trial in a separate federal court case that starts Monday.
Kaylan Pedine, a 29-year-old Tennessee native who lives in Greenpoint, said she was standing in front of a bar in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan in July when she saw a passing police officer and said, "I wish they would stop stop-and-frisk."
"The cops overheard me, turned around, and came over to me and said 'turn around,'" she told HuffPost. "I said, 'are you serious?'"
The officer, Craig Campion, apparently was: Pedine was arrested, taken to a precinct and charged with blocking a bus lane. She said she never raised her voice and was never in the street. The charge, which she said was "100 percent a fabrication," was later dismissed.
The department's controversial practice allows officers to stop-question-and-frisk people, but only if they have reason to suspect criminal behavior. The NYPD stopped 533,042 people in 2012.
Pedine, who works at a social justice non-profit, was incensed. She's pressing her lawsuit, she said, as "an opportunity to spread awareness about stop-and-frisk policy, and to have real, genuine conversations about the consequences."
"I recognize that this happens constantly, constantly, so I just felt like I wanted to be a voice," she said. Her lawsuit seeks unspecified monetary damages.
A New York City law department spokesperson told HuffPost in a statement, "we have received the papers and will review them thoroughly." The city has 30 days to respond.
Pedine's lawyer, Mark Taylor, told HuffPost that the police officer's actions should be placed in the larger context of the ongoing battle over stop and frisk. That erupted most recently during a City Council hearing on Monday, when City Councilmember Jumaane Williams criticized Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly for his support of the tactic.
"If you look at Police Commissioner Ray Kelly's testimony in front of the City Council," Taylor said, "the department is very defensive about the stop-and-frisk policy. And I think this is an instance where an officer is taking his lead from the commissioner."