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What you need to know for 01/20/2018

Excessive force by Schenectady cops alleged

Excessive force by Schenectady cops alleged

A Schenectady woman has filed the precursor to a lawsuit against the city, alleging excessive force,

A Schenectady woman has filed the precursor to a lawsuit against the city, alleging excessive force, harassment and other claims related to her January arrest.

Lourdes Herrera, 46, filed a notice of claim with the city last month. It relates to accusations made against her Jan. 14 outside her Victory Avenue residence.

The arrest complaint filed by police alleges Herrera intentionally got into her car to prevent a parking agent from having it towed for overdue parking tickets. She alleges that she was inside her car that afternoon when it was being towed unlawfully. She says she was ordered out of the car by police and, when she complied, she was arrested. Officers, the notice reads, “roughly began twisting her arms, causing pain.”

The notice also contends that she was slammed against the vehicle and pushed to the ground.

“The Schenectady Police then placed their knee and weight into (Herrera’s) back, intentionally punched (her) head, kicked (her) in the abdomen several times, and stepped on her back, causing significant pain and bruising,” the notice reads.

She also contends that one blow to her face caused her to black out.

Schenectady Deputy Corporation Counsel Carl Falotico said a deposition has been taken from Herrera and that the city is currently deciding how to respond.

Herrera is represented by attorneys Laura Darling and Jonathan Warner. Darling did not return a call seeking comment. Warner declined to comment.

Court records indicate Herrera was charged with obstruction of governmental administration and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors, as well as violation-level harassment. The obstruction charge relates to the allegations she tried to prevent her car from being towed.

The account of the arrest included in court paperwork filed by police includes allegations that Herrera “actively resisted” by pulling away and throwing herself around. She was then taken to the ground, where she is accused of continuing to resist and biting an officer in the leg.

The case against her is pending in City Court. She has pleaded not guilty.

Herrera contends in her notice that the incident was witnessed by “several” people, and was recorded on a cellphone and a private, closed-circuit video system. It was not recorded on the officer’s in-car camera, she alleges, because officers “intentionally pulled their car ahead of the scene as to prevent their cameras from recording anything but audio.”

Herrera also alleges police returned to her home Jan. 23 for no reason, resulting in her feeling threatened and intimidated.

She also said that on Feb. 27, she contacted police about stolen items she had recovered from a former tenant. She said she refused to meet with police because she was afraid from the prior incidents, but was threatened with arrest if she didn’t come out, so she left the items outside a side door.

She also alleges police towed her car “for being parked on the wrong side of the street” while it was in fact correctly parked.

Her notice of claim makes no reference to the unpaid parking tickets police said she had accrued when her car was towed.

As a result of the incidents, Herrera contends in her notice that she has been forced to park her cars in driveways and yards of friends. She also has been forced to stay with relatives and friends “in order to sleep and feel secure that the Schenectady Police will not stalk, harass, annoy, alarm, and intimidate her,” the notice reads.

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