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$1 Million Paid by NYC to Settle False Arrest Claim

Oliver Wiggins doesn’t drink. But that didn’t stop the NYPD cop who ran a stop sign and rammed Wiggins’ car from arresting him for driving while impaired.

After NYPD Officer Justin Joseph plowed into Wiggins on April 19, 2015, he claimed that the 33-year-old man had slurred speech, watery eyes, an odor of alcohol on his breath, and was seen swaying. Despite the fact that a breathalyzer test came back negative and a blood test showed no alcohol in his system, Joseph arrested Wiggins on charges of DWI.

Wiggins, who was injured in the crash, had his license suspended and was forced to pay the repair bill. His insurance wouldn’t cover the damage caused when Officer Joseph hit his car because of the DWI charges.

Three months later, prosecutors, who had no evidence of a crime, dropped the case. Wiggins hired attorney Scott Rynecki and sued the city, Joseph, and Officers Jason Conway, Greg Gingo, Matthew Sabella, and Chris Connor. The case settled for just under $1 million.

City officials denied liability and said they settled in order to avoid trial. “Settling this case was in the best interest of the city,” a Law Department representative said.

Wiggins said the ordeal inspired him to seek work in law enforcement. He is now a prison guard, and Rynecki said that Wiggins is on a mission. “This situation really made him understand the power of the badge and that police have to be honest because that’s how an innocent man can face frivolous [] charges,” said Rynecki. 


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