LaFrance v. Bemben

U.S. DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
Civil Rights

New York Law Journal

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Judge Sandra Townes

LaFrance traveled, by subway, to his brother's funeral. He was accompanied by daughter Hadiya, minor stepdaughter Jasmine, and niece Vonteh. Frustrated by LaFrance's delay in getting directions, Jasmine and Hadiya struck out on there own. LaFrance and other family members eventually caught up with them. He allegedly struck Hadiya and pushed Jasmine's head. Vonteh called police. Officers Bemben and Khan responded. LaFrance was handcuffed and arrested. Charges of assault, attempted assault, menacing, harassing and endangering a child's welfare were eventually dismissed. The court granted Bemben and codefendant officers judgment dismissing LaFrance's 42 USC §1983 action alleging excessive force, false arrest, malicious prosecution and failure to issue Miranda warnings. The temporary discomfort of handcuffs did not constitute excessive force. Nor was LaFrance falsely arrested. An eyewitness corroborated Jasmine's story that LaFrance pushed her head and slapped her twice, causing her to fall onto a parked car. In light of LaFrance's refusal to provide officers information rebutting Jasmine's facts, the officers had no reason to disbelieve Jasmine and thus acted with probable cause in arresting LaFrance.

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