Ex Playmate wins $1.2m over excessive force judgement against NY police
New York: A former Playboy Playmate, who had sued the New York Police Department claiming they manhandled her following an altercation with a cab driver in 2006, has been awarded 1.2 million dollars by a civil jury which ruled in her favour.
The jury gave Stephanie Adams 350,000 dollars more than her lawyer had asked for over the run-in, which was sparked when a cabbie told cops the first openly lesbian Playmate threatened to shoot him - even though she sat in the back of his cab in a skimpy, skin-tight outfit that could barely conceal a cigarette lighter.
“I waited six years for this,” the New York Post quoted Adams as saying.
The astrologer niece of a former New Jersey police commissioner, Adams said she was traumatized by the manhandling by cops and by having guns pointed at her.
The city had contended police followed proper procedure and Adams’ claims of being traumatized by the incident wereoverblown - citing sexy pictures of the former centerfold with guns on her website, Goddessy.com.
A juror who asked not to be identified called the pictures “a smokescreen,” and said that for the panel, the smoking gun was the spine and neck injuries the spirituality writer suffered in the incident.
“No one should be treated that way,” the juror said.
Adams said she was “very gratified” and added that the case wasn’t about the money, “it was about justice”.
Adams testified that the driver started cursing at her and threatening her, so she called 911 for help - and the crazed cabby followed suit, but made up a tale that she had threatened to shoot him.
Five officers were sent to the scene on high alert, and Adams had several guns pointed at her by plainclothes cops.
She testified that they searched her bags and, despite her following their orders not to move and to keep her hands up, one of them shoved her face down in the street, and kept her there with pressure on her neck and her lower back.
He mashed my face, she said.
Sgt John Rajan testified that she had obeyed his order not to move, but didn’t react when he told her to lie on the ground, so he had to make her do so with “a controlled drop to the ground.”
“We didn’t know if she had a firearm,” Rajan said.
However, he seemed to stumble when he was asked by trial lawyer Nina Neumunz why he hadn’t just put her up against a car or a wall to frisk her.