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Case 1:11-cv-04159-LBS Document 1

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK ______________________________ MIRSAD ISUFI, PLAINTIFF vs THE CITY OF NEW YORK, a municipal entity, NEW YORK CITY POLICE OFFICER VINCENT KONG, Shield # O1661, NEW YORK CITY POLICE SERGEANT CHRISTOPHER KOCH, Shield # 2875, NEW YORK CITY POLICE LIEUTENANT JOE COSTELLO, NEW YORK CITY POLICE CAPTAIN STEVEN BRAILLE, NEW YORK CITY NEW YORK CITY POLICE CHIEF BRIAN CONROY, NEW YORK CITY UNDERCOVER POLICE OFFICER 293 (previously known as NEW YORK CITY UNDERCOVER POLICE OFFICER 2948, and prior to that as NEW YORK CITY UNDERCOVER POLICE OFFICER 4325), NEW YORK CITY POLICE OFFICERS JOHN DOES, each of the identified and the nonidentified persons in his individual capacity and in his official capacity, DEFENDANTS ________________________________ I. INTRODUCTION COMPLAINT [JURY TRIAL] 11 Civ. 4159

1. This litigation arises out of the custodial arrest of the Plaintiff on the late evening of Thursday, July 17, 2008 and the early morning of Friday, July 18, 2008 at the Hot Lap Dance Club, 344 West 38th Street, New York City, New York and the preferral of criminal charges and the prosecution of the Plaintiff associated therewith.

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2. The Plaintiff was detained in custody for approximately twenty seven hours until the early morning of Saturday, July 19, 2008 when the Plaintiff appeared at an arraignment in the Criminal Court of the City of New York, County of New York, and State of New York and was then released without bail and directed to return to Court for further proceedings on September 25, 2008. 3. The Plaintiff appeared in Court on September 25, 2008, at which time all charges against the Plaintiff were dismissed in their entirety and sealed on motion of the District Attorneys office. 4. This is an action in which the Plaintiff seeks relief for the violation of his rights as guaranteed under the laws and Constitution of the United States. 5. The Plaintiff seeks monetary damages and such other relief, including injunctive relief and declaratory relief [if appropriate], as may be in the interest of justice and as may be required to assure that the Plaintiff secures full and complete relief and justice for the violation of his rights. II. JURISDICTION 6. Jurisdiction of this Court is invoked pursuant to and under 28 U.S.C. Sections 1331 and 1343 in conjunction with the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, and the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. 7. The Plaintiff also invokes the jurisdiction of this Court in conjunction with the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. Sections 2201, et seq., this being an action in which the Plaintiff seeks, in addition to monetary damages, whatever other relief is needed to provide full and complete justice including, if appropriate, declaratory and injunctive relief. 8. This is an action in which the Plaintiff seeks relief for the violation of his rights as guaranteed under the laws and Constitution of the United States. III. THE PARTIES

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9. The Plaintiff is a citizen of Albania, and is a lawful permanent resident in the United States of America, and a resident of the State of New York, the City of New York, and the County of Kings. 10. The Defendant City of New York is a municipal entity which was created under the authority of the laws and Constitution of the State of New York and which is authorized with, among other powers, the power to maintain a police department for the purpose of protecting the welfare of those who reside in the City of New York. 11. Defendants Christopher Koch, Shield # 2875, Vincent Kong, Shield # 01661, Joe Costello, Steven Braille, Brian Conroy, New York City Undercover Police Officer 293 (previously known as New York City Undercover Police Officer 2948, and prior to that as New York City Undercover Police Officer 4325), and John Does are New York City Police Department line and command Officers and agents and employees of the City of New York. 12. Although the Defendants actions and conduct herein described were unlawful and wrongful and otherwise violative of the Plaintiffs rights as guaranteed under the laws and Constitution of the United States, they were taken in and during the course of their duties and functions as New York City Police Department line and command Officers and as agents and employees of the City of New York and incidental to the otherwise lawful performance of their duties and functions as New York City Police line and command Officers and agents and employees of the City of New York. IV. ALLEGATIONS 13. This litigation arises out of the Plaintiffs custodial arrest on Thursday night, July 17, 2008 and on Friday morning July 18, 2008 at the Hot Lap Dance Club, which was located in a loft like area on the 5th floor of a building whose address was 344 West 38th Street, New York, New York. 14. On July 17, 2008 the Plaintiff was employed at Hot Lap Dance Club.

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15. The Plaintiff commenced his employment at the Hot Lap Dance Club [hereinafter referred to as the Club] in or about late March or early April, 2008. 16. The Plaintiff was employed as a barback in the main lounge area of the club, in which capacity he assisted the bartender and cleaned tables. 17. The Plaintiff did not clean, and did not enter, the lap dancing rooms in the club where the lap dancers performed lap dances. 18. On July 17, 2008, the Plaintiff was working in his capacity as a barback as described above. 19. 20. The Club opened to patrons at or about 8:00 P.M. The Club became crowded with patrons.

21. At or about 11:30 P.M. the Plaintiff observed a number of individuals come into the Club bearing shields and wearing helmets. 22. Those individuals moved through the Club.

23. After the initial entry of the shield-bearing and helmet-wearing Officers, the Plaintiff observed what he believed to be a number of plain clothes New York City Police Officers enter into the Club, and into the main area of the Club. 24. Eventually the plain clothes Officers arrested all of the Clubs employees, and took all the employees to the office in the Club and handcuffed each individual and placed each individual under arrest. 25. Plaintiff was handcuffed with plastic flexcuffs, and was forced to remain in the flexcuffs for approximately 3-4 hours, which caused him great pain. 26. When Plaintiff complained about the tightness of the flexcuffs and requested that they be loosened, a John Doe police officer told him that he would have to wait until they arrived at the precinct to have them be removed.

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27. During the process of the arrest of the Plaintiff and others, patrons, who were in the Club, were permitted to leave. 28. 29. 58. The Plaintiff was frisked. The Plaintiff was transported to the 7th Precinct. The Plaintiff was fingerprinted and photographed.

30. Plaintiff had approximately $500 on his person at the time of his arrest that was confiscated by the police officers who processed his arrest. 31. When Plaintiff received a NYPD property voucher it listed only $200 as having been seized, and Plaintiff only received back $200 of the approximately $500 that was seized. 32. Plaintiffs cell phone was also confiscated by the police officers who processed his arrest. 33. Plaintiffs cell phone was designated arrest evidence, and was only returned to him after the charges against him were dismissed on September 25, 2008. 34. When Plaintiff received his cell phone back from the NYPD, it was scratched, and it was obvious that it had been pried open without Plaintiffs consent by the police while it was in police custody. 35. The Plaintiff has never been arrested before in his life other than this incident. 36. After being detained at the 7th Precinct for some period of time, the Plaintiff, along with others, was transported to Manhattan Central Booking where he remained until he and others were brought to Court for an arraignment at or about 1:30 to 2:30 A.M. on the morning of July 19, 2008. 37. The Plaintiff was in custody for 27 hours or thereabouts. 38. The Plaintiff had no information or idea whatsoever as to the basis for his arrest.

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39. The Plaintiff had no idea about any unlawful or illegal conduct, if any, which was alleged, as part of the police operation, to have occurred at the Club location. 40. The Plaintiff never promoted prostitution or other unlawful conduct, ever, in the Club location or otherwise; and he was unaware of any unlawful conduct whatsoever in the Club location. 41. The Plaintiff never engaged in any criminal conduct or other unlawful conduct while employed at the Club. 42. The Plaintiff was released on his own recognizance from custody without bail at an arraignment at or about 1:30 to 2:30 A.M. on July 19, 2008 and he was directed to return to the Court on September 25, 2008 for further proceedings in connection with his arrest allegedly for promoting prostitution. 43. During August, 2008 Plaintiff went to his native Albania for a visit. 44. When he returned to the United States on September 23, 2008, Plaintiff was detained at Kennedy Airport by the United States Department of Homeland Security, due to the charge pending against him for promoting prostitution. 45. The Homeland Security agents took the Plaintiffs fingerprints and photographed Plaintiff, and held Plaintiff in a separate room. 46. The Homeland Security agents told Plaintiff (incorrectly) that he had a felony charge pending against him, and would have to be sent back to Albania. 47. After being detained by Homeland Security for approximately five hours, Plaintiff was released and permitted to enter the United States of America and go to his home. 48. Homeland Security would not relinquish, and they retained, Plaintiffs passport at their office at Kennedy Airport, however. Plaintiff was told that he needed to return to Kennedy Airport after his court date in order to reclaim his passport.

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49. On September 25, 2008, the Plaintiff and his criminal defense attorney met with the assigned Assistant District Attorney prior to the Plaintiffs Court appearance on that date. 50. At that meeting Plaintiff voluntarily submitted himself to an interview by the assigned Assistant District Attorney, which led the assigned Assistant District Attorney to dismiss the charges against the Plaintiff due to Plaintiffs lack of involvement in any criminality. 51. The Plaintiff and his attorney then appeared in Court on September 25, 2008, where, upon the Motion of the Office of the New York County District Attorney, the charge against the Plaintiff was dismissed and the proceedings sealed. 52. The Plaintiff had to pay $2,500 to his criminal defense attorney for representation in defending against the criminal charge. 53. The Plaintiffs arrest on the night in question, in front of employees and others, was humiliating and embarrassing and stress and anxiety inducing. 54. The Plaintiffs arrest and the pendency of the Criminal Court proceeding, until it was dismissed, were stress and anxiety inducing, emotionally distressful, and otherwise publicly humiliating and embarrassing. 55. Defendants Does, Costello, Braille, Koch, Kong, New York City Undercover Police Officer 293 (previously known as New York City Undercover Police Officer 2948, and prior to that as New York City Undercover Police Officer 4325), and Conroy were involved in the pre-planning and/or the execution of the Hot Dance Lap Club field operation on July 17, 2008. 56. It is believed that, among the Defendants, all or some had been in the Hot Lap Dance Club as part of a preJuly 17, 2008 undercover operation which was taking place in said Club. 57. Among other efforts in which some or all of the Defendants engaged was an undertaking and effort to secure

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a search warrant for the premises where the Hot Lap Dance Club was located. 58. Notwithstanding that it is believed that a search warrant was obtained for the search of the Hot Lap Dance on July 17, 2008, no pre July 17, 2008 arrest warrant was obtained from a Court for the arrest of the Plaintiff. 59. It is believed that no pre-July 17, 2010 arrest warrant was obtained for the arrest of the Plaintiff notwithstanding undercover operations which the Defendants had taken in the Club prior to July 17, 2008 because the Defendants lacked an objectively reasonable probable cause fact basis on which to believe that the Plaintiff was engaged in any criminal conduct prior to July 17, 2008 just as, on July 17, 2008, there was no such objectively reasonable probable cause fact basis for the Defendants to believe that the Plaintiff was engaged in any kind of criminal conduct to justify the Plaintiffs arrest. 60. The Plaintiff committed no criminal offense or other offense whatsoever and no reasonable police officer could have reasonably and objectively believed that the Plaintiff committed any criminal offense or any other offense under the law to justify even a stop let alone an arrest, a custodial arrest, incarceration and detention, the preferral of any charge, including but not limited to promotion of prostitution charge, against him, and his criminal prosecution associated with the preferral of any criminal charges including but not limited to the promotion of prostitution charge. 61. There was no basis for the stop, arrest and custodial arrest of the Plaintiff by the New York City Police Officers, each of whom is an agent and employee of the City of New York. 62. In addition to the lack of any basis for the stop, arrest and custodial arrest of the Plaintiff, there was no reasonable basis to believe that the Hot Lap Dance club was a brothel or promoted any sort of systemic prostitution business, as New York City Undercover Police Officer 293 (previously known as New York City Undercover Police Officer 2948, and prior to that as New York City Undercover Police Officer 4325) - as well as his partner, named Detective Rijos, Shield No. 3026 - have testified that in the course of their undercover operation at the

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club there were a number of times where they reached negative results in their attempts to reach prostitution agreements with the dancers at the club. 63. There is, in fact, significant doubt as to whether they in fact reached those prostitution agreements with those particular dancers with whom they claim to have reached agreement. Their investigatory techniques and procedures were rife with dishonesty and incompetence. 64. There was no justification to handcuff the Plaintiff, frisk search the Plaintiff, or to detain the Plaintiff in custody for the period of time he was held in custody until he appeared at his arraignment when and where he was released without bail and required to return to Court thereafter when and where, upon the motion of the New York County District Attorneys Office, the charge preferred against the Plaintiff was eventually dismissed and the records sealed. 65. The Plaintiff was simply rounded up as part of a collective group of employees at the Club without any specific and particularized objectively reasonable fact and information basis to believe that the Plaintiff had engaged in any unlawful conduct. 66. The Plaintiff was rounded up and left to be sorted out as part of a wholesale New York City collective probable cause arrest policy and without any objectively reasonable specific and particular fact and information basis to believe that the Plaintiff was involved in any criminal conduct associated with the Club. 67. The Defendants, per the policy of the City of New York, employed a shoot em all, and let God sort em out arrest psychology, which is abhorrent to the Fourth Amendment, by arresting the Plaintiff simply because he was present in the Club as an employee of the Club without possessing any specific and particularized conduct by the Plaintiff that linked the Plaintiff to any alleged unlawful conduct supposedly taking place in the Club. 68. Employment at the Club and by the Club in and of itself and without any specific and particular independent fact and information basis to believe that the Plaintiff even knew about any alleged unlawful conduct at the Club,

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let alone was involved in any such alleged unlawful conduct, is not a crime. 69. While the actions and conduct of the New York City Police Officers were unlawful they were taken in the course of their duties and functions and incidental to the otherwise lawful performance of those duties and functions as New York City Police Officers and as agents and employees of the City of New York. Among others involved in the challenged actions and conduct herein were Defendants New York City Police Officers Does, Costello, Braille, Koch, Kong, New York City Undercover Police Officer 293 (previously known as New York City Undercover Police Officer 2948, and prior to that as New York City Undercover Police Officer 4325), and Conroy. 70. There was no probable cause for the arrest of the Plaintiff or for the preferral of any any - charges against the Plaintiff or for the criminal prosecution of the Plaintiff. 71. The Plaintiff was subjected to a Fourth Amendment offensive probable cause lacking stop, false arrest and unlawful custodial detention and imprisonment, and he was subjected to excessive, unreasonable and unnecessary force in the form of his handcuffing. Moreover, he was subjected to an unlawful frisk search and to malicious prosecution, and to a malicious abuse of criminal prosecution. 72. The actions and conduct herein described were propelled by the vice crime offense enforcement initiatives of the City of New York which are grounded in the philosophy of the ends justifies the means and which propel New York City Police Officers to make unlawful and otherwise unjustified arrests. 73. Such vice crime offense enforcement initiatives, for which the City provided inadequate training, propelled the Defendant officers to make collective probable cause custodial arrests of multiple individuals in this situation, including the Plaintiffs arrest, where there was no specific and particular Plaintiff linked objectively reasonable probable cause factual basis to believe that the Plaintiff was engaged in unlawful conduct to justify the arrest of the Plaintiff.

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74. The Plaintiff was falsely arrested and subjected to an excessive and unreasonable and unnecessary force [in the form of handcuffing] and excessive detention and an unlawful frisk search and a malicious abuse of criminal process and to a malicious prosecution. 75. The actions, conduct, policies and practices and customs herein described violated the Plaintiffs rights as guaranteed under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. Section 1983. 76. The Plaintiff suffered injuries and damages including loss of liberty, fear, anxiety, mental distress, emotional anguish, and psychological trauma and physical pain and suffering. 77. The Plaintiff suffered public humiliation and embarrassment. 78. The Plaintiff has not yet placed a monetary value on the damages which he incurred although he believes them to be substantial and to include compensatory and punitive damages. 79. The Plaintiff has no other adequate remedy of law other than for the institution of this litigation. V. A. CAUSES OF ACTION

FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION

80. The Plaintiff reiterates Paragraph #s 1 through 79 and incorporates such by reference herein. 81. The Plaintiff was unlawfully and falsely arrested and falsely and excessively imprisoned and detained, and subjected to excessive force and unreasonable conditions of his confinement, and had his money and property seized and not returned and / or unlawfully damaged and searched, all in violation of his rights as guaranteed under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. Section 1983. 82. The Plaintiff suffered injuries and damages. B. SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION

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83. The Plaintiff reiterates Paragraph #s 1 through 82 and incorporates such by reference herein. 84. The Plaintiff was subjected to malicious prosecution in violation of his rights as guaranteed under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. Section 1983. 85. The Plaintiff suffered injuries and damages. C. THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION

86. The Plaintiff reiterates Paragraph #s 1 through 85 and incorporates such by reference herein. 87. The Plaintiff was arrested for collateral objectives other than legitimate law enforcement functions including, as a collateral justification, that it was simply easier to arrest someone and sort it out later than it was to utilize the power of arrest in its proper, probable cause grounded form and fashion based on an objective and reasonable belief of the arresting law enforcement officer at the time of the arrest that the individual was engaged in unlawful conduct. 88. Simply being present at a location and being employed by the entity which does business at the location is not a sufficient basis on which to form the required objectively reasonable probable cause fact based and information belief to arrest an individual thereby propelling a belief that a non legitimate, ancillary purpose was the basis on which the arrest of the individual was grounded. 89. The Plaintiff was subjected to malicious abuse of criminal process in violation of his rights as guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. Section 1983. 90. The Plaintiff suffered injuries and damages. D. FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION

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91. The Plaintiff reiterates Paragraph #s 1 through 90 and incorporates such by reference herein. 92. The policies, practices and customs herein described, including the vice crime offense enforcement initiatives and the inadequate training policy associated therewith, propelled the actions and conduct herein. Those policies, practices, and customs violated the Plaintiffs rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. Section 1983. 93. The Plaintiff suffered injuries and damages. E. FIFTH CAUSE OF ACTION

94. The Plaintiff reiterates Paragraph #s 1 through 93 and incorporates such by reference herein. 95. If the City of New York elects to represent its officers as it does in the overwhelming number of cases brought against its officers [it is believed that the City of New York elects to represent its officers in approximately 99 percent of the cases brought against its officers in the federal courts for alleged police officer misconduct], the City of New York uniformly and as a matter of policy and practice and custom pays the judgments awarded against its represented officers [both compensatory and punitive damages] and otherwise pays settlements, all without requiring contribution from the officers. 96. The named and unnamed individual Defendants are employees and agents of the City of New York and their conduct, as described, was taken in the course of their duties and functions as New York City Police Officers and, in their capacities as such, as agents and employees of the City of New York. 97. Their actions and conduct, while unlawful and unconstitutional, nonetheless were actions and conduct taken in connection with the otherwise lawful performance of their duties and functions as agents and employees of the City of New York. 98. The Plaintiff is entitled to recover directly against the City of New York for the conduct of its named and unnamed Officers under the federal claim jurisdiction

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and/or against the City pursuant to the doctrine of respondeat superior as the City is, as a matter of fact and law and policy and practice and custom, the real party in interest in this litigation. 99. The Plaintiff suffered injuries and damages.

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WHEREFORE and in light of the foregoing, it is respectfully requested that the Court assume jurisdiction and: [a] Invoke pendent party and pendent claim jurisdiction. [b] Award appropriate compensatory and punitive damages. [c] Award appropriate declaratory and injunctive relief. [d] Empanel a jury. [e] Award attorneys fees and costs. [f] Award such other and further relief as the Court deems to be in the interest of justice. DATED: New York, New York June 17, 2011

Respectfully submitted, ________/S/_______________ JEFFREY A. ROTHMAN 315 Broadway @ Suite # 200 New York, New York 10007 [212] 227-2980 [212] 591-6343/FAX rothman.jeffrey@gmail.com JAMES I. MEYERSON 64 Fulton Street @ Suite # 502 New York, New York 10013 [212] 226-3310 [212] 513-1006/FAX jimeyerson@yahoo.com ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF BY:_______________________

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