KIYC: Woman alleges police brutality in Paterson

A woman tells Kane In Your Corner that two off-duty police officers overstepped their boundaries when they arrested her in March of 2011. But it's

Woman alleges police brutality in Paterson.

Woman alleges police brutality in Paterson. (1/18/13)

PATERSON - A woman tells Kane In Your Corner that two off-duty police officers overstepped their boundaries when they arrested her in March of 2011. But it's what happened afterward that has Linette Vazquez accusing the department of police brutality.

Vazquez says she and her co-workers went out for breakfast the day of the incident after finishing her shift as a dancer at a Paterson nightclub. She says they got into a verbal argument with patrons at a nearby table who happened to be off-duty police officers.

One of them was officer Michael Avila. Within minutes, Vazquez says she was arrested and taken to the station by a uniformed officer.

Vazquez says the officers overstepped their boundaries for having her arrested in the first place. But once she was at the station, Vazquez says things took a violent and dangerous turn.

On videotape of the incident, Avila can be seen confronting the handcuffed Vazquez. In the video, it appears that he grabs her by the neck and slams her to the ground.

But in his description of the incident, Avila accuses Vazquez of assaulting him, saying she scratched him above his lip. Avila's report makes no mention of him initiating a physical escalation with the handcuffed Vazquez.

Vazquez, who suffered injuries to her legs, back and neck, filed a complaint of her own. The case was eventually taken to a grand jury. The grand jury opted not to indict Vazquez or Avila.

Two years later, Vazquez maintains her claims of police brutality. Her attorney, Nancy Lucciana, is filing a lawsuit against the Paterson Police Department.

"It's not just Lynette Vazquez who's the victim here," Lucciana told Kane In Your Corner, "If it happens to one of us it happens to all of us."

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