A Bronx teenager was awarded a settlement of $45,000 last week for a November 2013 incident in which she and a friend were detained by NYPD officers.
Natalie Erlich, 17 at the time, was buying a snack with friends after school when she was approached by plainclothes police officer Jose Peinan. Peinan tried to start a conversation by commenting that Erlich’s camouflage hat and his camo pants matched.
“I brushed him off and I laughed,” she told the New York Post.
Peinan allegedly followed her as she bought a cup of cocoa.
“He said something slick like, ‘Where are you going?’” Erlich recalled. “I said, ‘I’m going home.’”
After Erlich asked Peinan if he was a cop, four more officers appeared in a van, and Peinan ordered them to arrest Erlich and her friend.
“He said she blew his cover,” Erlich’s mother said of Peinan.
Erlich and her friend, Marie Gonzalez, were taken to a police station and kept in custody until 11 a.m. the next day.
“I was scared,” Erlich said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”
In her lawsuit, Erlich alleged that Peinan had arrested her for turning him down and that an officer touched her breasts while searching her.
“Peinan then unlawfully subjected the two completely innocent women to approximately 19 hours of detention and charged them with Obstruction of Governmental Administration,” the suit states.
In settling with Erlich, the city also agreed to drop all charges related to the incident.
Peinan has been named in three other lawsuits settled by the city, the New York Post reported.