Transgender woman sues city, NYPD after arrest
A Manhattan woman is suing the city and NYPD officers after she said she was harassed at a Union Square precinct because she is transgender.
Temmie Breslauer filed a lawsuit Jan. 24, alleging that cops called her names and chained her arm above her head for 28 hours, all after she refused to discuss her genitalia.
She said she was arrested in the subway Jan. 12 at the 125th Street 4-train station for using a discount fare card that belonged to her father. Two police officers arrested her.
“Each giggled and laughed at her as they were arresting her,” the lawsuit alleges.
Then, the suit continues, police took Breslauer to the police precinct inside the Union Square subway station, where she says a sergeant asked her whether she had a penis or a vagina. She explained she was undergoing a gender change.
Breslauer, 52, whose legal first name is Todd, said she was then seated on a bench with her arm attached to a fence above her for 28 hours. At the precinct, officers allegedly called her “He-She,” a “transvestite,” and said things like “Is it Halloween?”
Her lawyer, Gregory Antollino, argues that officers could have put her either with women or in a cell by herself. Instead, he said, she was seated in front of a cell where male prisoners taunted her and threw soda cans at her.
“They could have put her with the women,” he said. “A penis is not a weapon.”
The NYPD should also create a policy on how to process transgender arrestees, he added.
“That needed to be addressed before this happened and must be addressed now,” Antollino said.
Councilman Daniel Dromm said that transgender people in his Queens district have been targeted by cops who assume they are prostitutes. Constituents told him they were simply standing with friends on the street when cops approached them and arrested them on prostitution charges.
Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro