Jamaican gets near US $1 million for false arrest by NY police

(JAMAICA GLEANER) – A Jamaican man who was falsely arrested for drunk driving by police in the United States has been awarded close to US $1 million or more than J $120 million by the city of New York.

The award comes nearly three years after Oliver Wiggins, 33, was arrested in East Flatbush, Brooklyn in April 2015 and charged with driving while intoxicated by a police officer who was attempting to cover up for another cop who drove his service vehicle through a stop sign and ploughed into his car, the New York Daily News reports.

Wiggins was badly injured in the crash and required surgery to his wrist.

In addition, his driver’s license was suspended and he had to stand the cost of the repairs to his 2004 Nissan Maxima that his insurance company would not undertake because of the arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol.

The newspaper reports that at the scene of the crash, a breathalyzer test showed the Jamaican had no alcohol in his blood.

Further, Wiggins, who insists that he does not drink alcohol, volunteered to have his blood tested for alcohol and drugs while hospitalised.

“Reports from the EMT (emergency medical technician) and DWI technician said Wiggins had no signs of intoxication,” the Daily News reported.

Despite this, the cop who arrested Wiggins reported that he had slurred speech, watery eyes, an odour of alcohol on his breath and was observed swaying.

Three months later the charges were dismissed and city officials decided to avoid a trial, the newspaper said.

“Settling this case was in the best interest of the city,” it quoted an official at the New York City Law Department as saying.

Wiggins indicated, through his attorney, Scott Rynecki, that his ordeal has inspired him to become a correctional officer, the same job his father holds in Jamaica.

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