A Black dentist in Manhattan was accused of breaking into his own office and now, he has a lawsuit against the city.
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The New York Post reports Dr. Benjamin Shirley said he was racially profiled back in March when NYPD officers stopped him around midnight. The 41-year-old was allegedly taking out the trash at his medical office when police accused him of breaking into the building. Law enforcement reportedly approached the entrance, shining their lights and demanding that Shirley identify himself. Using their loudspeaker, they threatened to break in after the dentist identified himself as the owner.
A $5 million notice of claim against the city said the two police officers “attempted to unlawfully gain entry to the building by force and repeatedly called [Shirley] threatening to destroy his property and enter with force if he did not come outside despite the fact that at all times, they lacked any probable cause or reasonable belief that [Shirley] had committed any crime,” according to The Post.
Scared, Dr. Shirley called 911 on his own as police were outside.
“I’m actually being harassed by the cops here,” Shirley said in the 911 call. “I’m pretty scared here. I’m working in my office and they shine the flashlight in my face.”
“I’m trying to ask them why they are bothering me, and he said he saw me walking in here,” he told the 911 operator. “They are asking me for my ID and I’m not doing anything … I don’t know if it’s because I’m African American.”
Dr. Shirley’s lawyer, Reza Rezvani, described the fearful incident to the news outlet.
“They were threatening to break in, they were threatening to break down the security equipment, they were threatening to break down the door and go inside,” said Rezvani. “Imagine how terrifying it is to have to call the police on the police and then to be met with no help.”
The lawyer told the Post that his client did not immediately go outside and engage with the officers because he was scared.
“It’s midnight, he’s Black, they are shining flashlights inside — that’s how you set up all kinds of bad things happening,” Rezvani said. “To casually walk out, it’s not possible in that scenario.”
After a half-hour passed, two more police officers arrived and the dentist eventually came to the door and displayed his identification, the Post reported. Only then did the cops exit the property.
“Despite the fact that [Shirley’s] state-issued identification lists the address of the location of incident, [Shirley] was forced to provide his identification to [the police officers] multiple times before they would agree to leave,” read the claim, according to the report.
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The claim is the first step to filing a lawsuit. According to the Post, Dr. Shirley included negligence, false arrest, unlawful detainment, illegal search and
CHICAGO (AP) — A former jail guard has filed a federal lawsuit against the Cook County sheriff for allegedly dismissing her bid to become a courthouse deputy because she failed a fitness test.
Denise Hobbs, 59, claimed the test is discriminatory based on age, sex and race and the sheriff has required it even after an administrative judge ruled otherwise, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Hobbs twice failed the test in 2019. She said she was told to go back to work at the jail but then retired soon after.
She was among 25 people taking part in the training academy for courthouse deputies. Six were rejected, including Hobbs and three other Black women, one Black man and a white man, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims the test was biased because it doesn’t correspond with a courthouse deputy’s duties and the standards were the same for all despite lower average abilities of older people and women.
Hobbs seeks unspecified damages and a court order blocking the sheriff from using the test.
The test, which was administered between 2014 and 2019, was agreed to by the union representing courthouse deputies
Matthew Walberg, a spokesman for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, said that the test was eliminated in 2019 “for reasons unrelated to the merits of the test.”
He said the guards who failed, including Hobbs, threatened a lawsuit and were offered courthouse jobs and Hobbs declined.