A couple from Brooklyn, New York believes they were victims of a hate crime after they were allegedly attacked by an off duty police officer.
According to the Huffington Post, Stephanie Dorceant, 29, and her girlfriend Nandi Allman were leaving a concert in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn when Dorceant and Officer Salvator Aquino bumped into each other. After asking if he was okay, Aquino allegedly called her a “dyke.” An argument ensued, leaving Allman to pry the police officer’s hands from around Dorceant’s neck.
After being punched a few times in the face, Dorceant saw police coming towards them. Instead of stopping the fight, they piled on top of her.
Dorceant released a statement through her attorney detailing the attack.
“When other police officers showed up I thought we were saved,” she said. “That was not the case. It turned out that this man was an off-duty police officer. Instead of helping me and my girlfriend and arresting our attacker, more officers piled on top of me, slamming me onto the pavement and putting their knees on my neck, shoulders, and back. They then put us both into handcuffs and threw us into a holding cell in the precinct. After being processed at the precinct I was taken to the hospital, and then to central bookings.”
Dorceant is facing felony charges of assault as well as charges for menacing, resisting arrest and harassment. Aquino denied attacking the couple and says Dorceant and Allman were arguing when he headed to his car that was placed in a area marked for police vehicles.
“When Dorceant and Aquino bumped into each other, the complaint alleges, Dorceant attacked Aquino and “punched him in the face.” When he tried to arrest Dorceant she resisted and “proceeded to bite [Aquino] repeatedly about the arms, chest, finger, and torso, breaking [Aquino’s] skin.”
The women denied the claims, stating they didn’t know Aquino was a cop because he never said it or showed a badge. Aquino hasn’t been charged with any crime. Dorceant concluded her statement with a message about police brutality.
“Even though I am well aware of the many stories about police brutality, especially against blacks, Hispanics, and the LGBT community, I never really thought that this could happen to me,” she said. “I want to share my story and say that police brutality is a real thing. Hate crimes are a real thing. Both of these things happened to me. Enough is enough.”
On Thursday a judge determined a timeline for the case. Prosecutors have until January to convene a grand jury and indict Dorceant. If they fail to do so, the charges against her will be dismissed. Dorceant and Allman are looking to file civil charges in the near future.
SOURCE: Huffington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty