A New York man has won a $1 Million payout from the city for being wrongfully arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated.
In April 2015, Oliver Wiggins, 32, was driving in East Flatbush when his car was T-boned by a police SUV, the New York Daily News reported at the time. Wiggins said the police car ran through a stop sign before colliding into his car.
Wiggins took a breathalyzer test at the scene, which showed no alcohol in his system. A blood test conducted later likewise found no traces of alcohol.
When officers asked if he had been drinking, Wiggins replied that earlier he had consumed a Malta—a non-alcoholic malt beverage.
Wiggins in fact does not drink alcohol, said his lawyer, Scott Rynecki, reported the Daily News.
Yet Wiggins was still arrested and charged with driving while under the influence.
Responding officers reportedly wrote in the incident report that they observed signs which may indicate Wiggins was intoxicated: red and watery eyes, slurred speech, the odor of alcohol on his breath, and that he was “swaying.”
EXCLUSIVE: A Brooklyn man is $1 million richer after an NYPD officer falsely charged him with a DWI — even with a Breathalyzer test that showed no alcohol in his blood https://t.co/TGkYNeif2c pic.twitter.com/TMCXHFvpQM
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) March 2, 2018
Wiggins told the New York Daily News at the time that he believed the officers were trying to cover up the fact that they were at fault in the collision.
“I think the whole thing was insane,” he said. “They ran a stop sign and I think they were trying to hide that they caused the accident.”
Three months later the prosecution dropped the charges against Wiggins after receiving the negative results from the blood test, the Daily News reported.
As a result of the incident, Wiggins had his license suspended, and was left to foot the repair bill for his 2004 Nissan Maxima because it was not covered by his insurance company due to his false DUI charge, the Daily News reported.
Wiggins also suffered “significant injuries that require surgery to his wrist,” said Rynecki.
So Wiggins filed a lawsuit against the city and the five police officers involved in the incident.
The suit was settled before trial, with the city paying the 32-year-old almost $1 million in compensation for his losses.
“Settling this case was in the best interest of the city,” a New York Law Department spokesman told the Daily News.
The events have reportedly prompted Wiggins to become a corrections officer, so he can enforce the law.
“This situation really made him understand the power of the badge and that police have to be honest because that’s how an innocent man can face frivolously charges,” Rynecki said.
In July 2015, Wiggin’s lawyer wrote to the then-District Attorney requesting an investigation into the officers’ misconduct.
The Daily News reports that no charges have been filed against the officers involved, and they are still employed by the department.