By Sasha Gonzales and Kevin Deutsch
The city has settled a federal lawsuit accusing an NYPD Officer of dragging a Bronx tenth-grader off of a bus by her hair and slamming her head against the concrete – all in an arrest captured on video, court records show.
Andrea Lounds filed the excessive force suit accusing NYPD Officer Lorraine Fuentes and other Bronx cops of “brutalizing” her teenage daughter on May 10, 2016 as the girl, identified in court papers as D.E., rode a city bus home from school in the Bronx around 1:45 p.m.
The bus was packed with high school kids when a fight broke out, the suit alleged, causing the driver to pull over near Bruckner Boulevard and Castle Avenue and call police.
D.E. wasn’t one of the teens involved in the fight, according to the suit, but responding officers honed in on her anyway.
“Defendant officers began violently pulling the students from the bus,” Lounds said in the suit filed by civil rights attorney Gabriel Harvis. “Suddenly and for no reason, defendant Fuentes grabbed D.E., a tenth-grader who had done nothing wrong, by her hair and dragged her from the bus. Videotaped footage of the events reveals that after D.E. was dragged off he bus, defendant Fuentes grabbed D.E. by her hair and slammed her head against the concrete.”
Efforts to reach Fuentes, a 13-year department veteran, were unsuccessful.
The teen, who had no prior arrests, was charged with various crimes including felony assault, the suit said.
A Bronx judge released her without bail at her arraignment, after which her family brought her to New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Lawrence Hospital. There, doctors treated her for minor injuries including “abrasions and pain to her scalp where her hair had been ripped out,” the suit said.
Charges against the teen were later dropped, records show.
The city settled the suit, filed in New York’s Southern District, for $45,000.
Bronx Justice News found details of the 2018 settlement in CAPStat, a database launched by the Legal Aid Society last week that contains thousands of records from NYPD police misconduct lawsuits and other filings.
Neither the NYPD nor the city law department immediately returned a request for comment.
Pictured: Lorraine Fuentes, an NYPD Officer who a lawsuit alleged dragged a Bronx student off of a city bus by her hair and slammed her head against the concrete. Credit: LinkedIn