NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A New York Police Department officer was charged Monday with falsely arresting a black man, then later allegedly using a racial slur while recounting the arrest during a phone call.
WEB EXTRA: Read The Full Complaint (PDF)
A criminal complaint also accuses Michael Daragjati – the target of an FBI investigation – of being involved in separate off-duty extortion and insurance fraud schemes.
Daragjati, 32, who is white, was denied bail Monday afternoon in a Brooklyn federal courthouse.
Daragjati is charged with criminal civil rights violations, including false arrest and malicious prosecution, and for doing so with racial animus. He was also charged with attempted violent extortion.
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Defense Attorney Mike Martinez told CBS 2′s Mark Morgan he was “very disappointed” that his client was denied bail.
The judge said bail was denied because of a threatening comment allegedly made by Darajati: “If something
happens..these guys are dead..if I lose my job that I work hard for a living.”
U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said in statement: “The power to arrest, to deprive a citizen of liberty, must be used fairly, responsibly and without bias. Motivated by base racial animus, the defendant allegedly abused this power and responsibility.”
The arrest was made under the so-called “stop and frisk” strategy by the NYPD that resulted in street stops of more than 500,000 people last year.
Civil rights advocates say the effort has unfairly singled out young black men and other minorities. The NYPD claims it’s essential for fighting crime in neighborhoods where men of color make up the vast majority of murder and shooting victims.
According to the complaint, the 6-foot-2 Daragjati was on patrol in the Stapleton section of Staten Island with a plainclothes anti-crime unit on April 15 when he stopped the unidentified, 31-year-old black man. It says the officer grabbed the 5-6 man and frisked him, but let him go after not finding any weapons or contraband.
The man objected, demanding the officer’s name and badge number and shouted insults as he walked away, authorities said. Hearing the insults, the officer and his partner chased after him and arrested him.
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Daragjati later lied in text messages to his sergeant and in a sworn statement by claiming the man had pushed him and fought back while he was being handcuffed, the complaint said. After two nights in custody, the man finally appeared in court, agreed to plead guilty to disorderly conduct and was released.
Around the same time, authorities intercepted a phone call between Daragjati and a woman. They say he was overheard complaining about having to work overtime to process the arrest, and had “fried another (N-word).”
“What?” the woman responded.
“Another (N-word) fried,” the officer allegedly said. “No big deal.”
Authorities also charged Daragjati with beating and demanding $5,000 from a man he believed had stolen his truck. He’s also accused of trying to file a false claim with an auto insurance company.
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