A Huntington man has filed a federal lawsuit against the Suffolk County Police Department, alleging that his civil rights were violated when a Second Precinct officer arrested him last year after a traffic stop.
Martine MacDonald, who served as a member of the Suffolk County police reform committee, said he was stopped and falsely accused of running a stop sign in Greenlawn on Jan. 12, 2021. According to the lawsuit filed in federal court, the police officer ordered him out of the car, telling him he had “barreled through a stop sign” at Tulip Street and Broadway, told him that a field sobriety test would be administered and then handcuffed him and took him to the Second Precinct stationhouse.
The lawsuit said MacDonald disputed the legitimacy of a sobriety test since he doesn’t drink alcohol, and says that his car was improperly searched and his phone, which he used to record the encounter with police, was tampered with during his arrest.
He alleged that he was held for hours in handcuffs while several officers attempted to persuade him to admit the traffic violation before he was given a desk appearance ticket and told to go to court. The lawsuit says multiple police officers were not wearing Covid-19 masks as they interacted with him or passed nearby.
The lawsuit said he appeared at Third District Court in Huntington on Feb.24, the date listed on the appearance ticket, and was told he was not scheduled for that day. He returned to court o the day the court told him to appear, the lawsuit says, and he was told that the case had been dismissed.
The lawsuit names Officers Rieber and Michaels, and cites other unnamed officers, as well as Suffolk County. It was filed by attorney Fred Brewington.