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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.

Jamal HUNTER, Plaintiff–Appellant, v. The CITY OF NEW YORK, et al., Defendants–Respondents.


Decided: February 26, 2019

Renwick, J.P., Richter, Tom, Kahn, Moulton, JJ. Law Offices of Wale Mosaku, P.C., Brooklyn (Wale Mosaku of counsel), for appellant. Zachary W. Carter, Corporation Counsel, New York (Tahirih Sadrieh of counsel), for respondents.

Plaintiff asserts claims for false arrest, false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, and violation of constitutional rights under 42 USC § 1983.  Inasmuch as the officer's observations established probable cause for arrest, defendants had a complete defense to the claims of false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution (see Batista v. City of New York, 15 A.D.3d 304, 790 N.Y.S.2d 445 [2005];  Lui Yi v. City of New York, 227 A.D.2d 453, 643 N.Y.S.2d 123 [1996] ), notwithstanding the subsequent dismissal of the criminal charges (see Arzeno v. Mack, 39 A.D.3d 341, 833 N.Y.S.2d 480 [2007] ).  Plaintiff fails to establish bad faith by the officers with respect to false arrest, or actual malice with respect to malicious prosecution (see id. at 342, 833 N.Y.S.2d 480;  Jenkins v. City of New York, 2 A.D.3d 291, 770 N.Y.S.2d 22 [2003] ).

Defendants further established that defendant Detective Pena did not falsify evidence.  Pena's testimony and the photographs and vouchers for the contraband demonstrate that the police did, in fact, recover a bag containing cocaine from behind a cushion of the couch, warranting the dismissal of the denial of a fair trial and failure to intervene claims.