NEW YORK — A Bronx man is suing the city after being arrested at a traffic stop by officers who admit they don’t know why they even pulled him over.
Benjamin Farias, 26, was pulled over on April 20 in the Bronx. According to Farias’s lawsuit, he asked repeatedly why he had been stopped, but did not receive an explanation. Instead, the officers claimed Farias’s license had expired. Farias gave officers documentation that proved his license had been restored from a previous suspension, but the officers ignored it and proceeded with the arrest, handcuffing him and treating him so roughly it fractured his wrist.
Farias explained that he knew recording the incident might help him. “I knew something was wrong, so I decided to film,” he said. Farias started recording video with his celllphone and put fit it into his car’s drink holder.
The recording captured by Farias’s cellphone reveals an audible conversation where police admit they don’t even know why he was detained to begin with. From the audio:
“I don’t even know why we pulled him over. He was like, ‘What was the reason why you pulled me over?'”
“Just put cocaine test.”
“That’s what you put! That’s how you write the summons!”
Nevertheless, the officers wrote in a citation that Farias was pulled over for having an “obstructed windshield,” which Farias claims was a Christmas tree-shaped air freshener hanging from his rear view mirror. Upon searching the vehicle, police found nothing but an uneaten cookie.
Andrew Hoffman, Farias’s attorney, explained that this type of arrest is somewhat common. “Unfortunately, this is the kind of thing that’s consistent with what I’ve seen in other cases. What makes it unusual is that Farias had the presence of mind to turn his camera phone on.”
Farias uploaded his video to YouTube on April 30; it is available below: