The city will pay $35,000 to Sunset Park resident Monica Gonzalez, falsely arrested for prostitution in 2007, the Daily News reported.
Officer Sean Spencer apprehended the 41-year-old as she walked on Third Ave toward Lutheran Medical Center to seek help for an asthma attack at 2:30 am on the night of November 8th.
Officer Spencer stopped her for solicitation, asserting in his report that she had approached a car and had a prior arrest for prostitution. He also reported she carried a condom. (I wasn’t aware that this was evidence of prostitution, but hey.) As those of you who attend the Precinct Community Council meetings know, prostitution has been an issue on Third Avenue in the 50s.
Gonzalez, a recent grandmother married 15 years, told the Daily News she had never been arrested, and had no condoms with her that night. The Officer accompanying Spencer apparently told the overzealous officer to let her go. She was instead taken with another woman arrested for solicitation to the precinct. Only then was an ambulance called to treat her breathing, according to a July 2008 Daily News article.
The 72nd launched an aggressive campaign against prostitution along Third Ave in late 2008, largely effective, according to Inspector Pintos. The Inspector made the issue a priority when came on as Commanding Officer in November 2008, a year after Gonzalez’s arrest.
This is not the first time the city has settled a suit against Officer Spencer. In 2004, Blanca Rodriguez brought a suit asserting she was falsely arrested for kicking a car during a dispute over a parking space. Charges were dropped, and the city paid the 40-year-old $10,000. New York City has paid nearly $80,000 to ameliorate disputes against Spencer, the Daily News reported.