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Couple Suing NYC After Being Arrested Last Year In Subway Dancing Episode

Couple Claims They Were Just Having Fun; NYPD Says They Posed Safety Risk
George Hess and Caroline Stern (credit: Sonia Rincon, 1010 WINS)

George Hess and Caroline Stern (credit: Sonia Rincon, 1010 WINS)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Manhattan couple is suing New York City after an incident last July that began with them swing dancing on a subway platform and ended with them spending a night behind bars.

Caroline Stern, a 55-year-old dentist, and her boyfriend, 54-year-old George Hess, were approached by a couple of NYPD officers at Columbus Circle, who asked them what they were doing.

1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon With More On The Story

“And I responded we’re dancing and they told us it was illegal to dance on the platform,” Stern told 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon.

When she questioned that she said the officers asked for identification. All she had at the time was a credit card and Stern said the officers told her and Hess, who had started recording the exchange on his phone, that they had to go to the precinct.

“I said ‘Hold it, wait. What are you charging us for?’ and the next thing you know…boom they arrested us, forced me to the ground,” Hess told 1010 WINS’ Rincon.

However, the NYPD paints a very different picture of what happened.

Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said the couple was observed “dancing and jumping wildly on the platform” and that they “posed a danger to themselves and others on the platform.”

Browne said that when officers asked the couple to stop, they refused and yelled and screamed at the cops.

Police also accused Stern of saying “I don’t have to listen to black cops. Call the real cops to come.”

Browne said the officers determined the couple was drinking and posed a public safety risk.

The couple is suing for unspecified damages, claiming they spent a miserable night behind bars handcuffed and were later told it’s not illegal to dance on the platform after all.

The charges of resisting arrest and blocking the flow of traffic were eventually dropped.

The New York City Law Department is reviewing the lawsuit.

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