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Nassau County Cop Garrett Mannerz Accused Of Forcing Woman To Grope Him During Traffic Stop

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(credit: Handout)

(credit: Handout)

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MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A five-year veteran of the Nassau County police force has been arrested and charged for allegedly forcing a woman to grope him during a traffic stop.

Garrett Mannerz, 34, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to bribe receiving, official misconduct and sexual abuse. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.

The incident happened last February on Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow after Mannerz pulled over a woman and her two friends — all of whom are in their early 20s.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports: An Abuse Of Power?

Prosecutors said after Mannerz administered a field sobriety test on the driver, he ordered one of the passengers out of the car, commented on her attire and asked for her telephone number.

Mannerz then allegedly told the woman that if she “did something for him” he would allow the driver to leave without receiving a summons or being charged. Prosecutors said he then grabbed the woman’s wrist and forced her to touch him sexually.

Two hours after letting the women go, Mannerz began a series of sexually suggestive telephone calls to the passenger he grabbed, prosecutors said.

“I think it’s disgusting,” East Meadow resident Erica Cooperberg told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis. “I’m shocked. It’s disgusting.”

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports: Prosecutors Are Looking For Other Potential Victims

Mannerz was arrested after the woman recorded a call and reported it to police.

“This is a shocking case of a policeman abusing his power,” district attorney Kathleen Rice said. “This defendant was supposed to protect the people, but chose instead to disgrace himself and the Nassau County Police Department.”

Lawyer William Petrillo calls the woman’s claims “absurd” and said his client has been falsely accused.

“The notion that this respected officer allegedly did this right off a busy road in an open gas station, in a police car, allegedly in front of witnesses is absurd,” Petrillo said.

Long Island residents were also stunned by the allegations.

“I’m appalled at the fact that he thinks he could use his badge as way of leverage,” Christine Kunkel, of Rockville Centre, told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

“You definitely want to report that – something like that, you can’t let go,” Hempstead resident Stephanie Thomas said.

“That’s against the law,” Doris Velasquez, of East Meadow, said. “He should be in jail for doing that.

Prosecutors are urging anyone with a similar experience to contact the District Attorney’s Public Corruption Bureau at 516-571-2100.

If convicted of the charges, what is the appropriate punishment in this case? Sound off below…

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