NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Charges will be dropped against a Brooklyn bodega worker accused of selling liquor to a minor during a police sting operation, sources told 1010 WINS on Wednesday.
Fernando Mateo, spokesman for the Bodega Association of the United States, said the man was falsely arrested and surveillance video shows that no violations were committed.
Video of the April 12 incident at the Giselle Mini Market on East New York Avenue shows the minor leaving the bodega after the worker, 44-year-old Ismael Duran, refused to sell the beer to him after checking his identification.
1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reports
The minor then apparently convinced a customer, 51-year-old Stanfiel Collymore, to buy the beer and hand it to him outside the store.
A few minutes later both Duran and Collymore were arrested by police.
“I felt bad because I was arrested without cause. I felt bad because I did the right thing,” Duran told CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman on Wednesday.
Duran, a married father of three who immigrated from the Dominican Republic three years ago, spent one night in jail. On the advice of a legal aid attorney, he pleaded guilty to unlawfully dealing with a child and selling liquor to a person under the legal drinking age.
He is due back in court on May 21.
Duran’s court date is expected to be pushed up, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reports.
The Brooklyn District Attorney’s office has opened an investigation into the incident.
According to a spokesman, the police department was conducting a sting operation and the minor was an auxiliary police officer.
As CBS 2’s Guzman reports, the surveillance video shows that the clerk never knew what was going on outside. Following Duran’s arrest, more police officers are seen swarming and making customers empty their pockets, presumably because they can’t find the marked bill they need to clinch the case.
“It’s shameful to see that the NYPD is sending their police officers to make arrests when arrests are not warranted,” Mateo said.
“It wasn’t his fault,” witness Steve Massey said of Duran. “Once the person buys the beer and whatever he did with it outside, it’s not his fault.”
An investigation may be opened into the police conduct in the incident, sources told 1010 WINS.
Mateo claims Duran’s civil rights were violated and is calling on the officer involved in the incident to be disciplined or arrested.
“This is not only a violation of his civil rights, this is abuse of power,” Mateo said. “It’s illegal, it’s unethical.”
NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said the he “can’t verify the accuracy of the allegations.”
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