Nancy Genovese, a Tea Party member, was awarded $1.2 million after a federal jury found that she had been wrongly prosecuted by Suffolk County authorities. The Long Island native was arrested in July 2009 for taking pictures of a display helicopter in front of the Gabreski Airport Air National Guard base.
Genovese, 58, claimed that she was only arrested because she was a member of the Tea Party. After a search of her car revealed a legally owned rifle, Genovese claims that a Southhampton police officer said, “I bet you are one of those Tea Party people.” He also added, “You’re a real right-winger aren’t you?” and, “You are a Teabagger.”
Genovese was taking the pictures for a “Support Our Troops” website.
Originally Genovese was charged with criminal trespass and had to spend four days in jail. The charge was dismissed in November 2009, but Genovese sued in 2010. Her lawyer Frederick Brewington argued that, “Ms. Genovese was subjected to a level of abuse because (authorities) did not share the same political views as she did and saw this as an excuse to deny her even the most basic civil rights.”
After learning of the jury’s decision, Genovese said she was “relieved” and said, “If this can happen to me, and officers can abuse their power like this, I can only imagine how other people who are not as fortunate as me have been treated.”