“Where’s the party at?”
That’s how a cop addressed 19-year-old beauty queen Kristy Abreu and her mother after pulling them over last May in Harlem. A supposed computer glitch led cops they were driving a stolen car. What happened next was “the worst night of her life.”
Current reigning Miss Westchester Kristy Abreu told The Daily News that she and her mother were “treated like animals.” According to their $210 million lawsuit against the NYPD, Abreu and her mother were not read their Miranda Rights. They were “roughed up,” thrown into a holding cell for hours and denied water, phone calls, and restroom access, while the other prisoners taunted and spat on them.
The cops involved hail from the 32nd precinct, which received more complaints in 2012 than any other precinct in Manhattan.
This sort of arbitrary abuse of power by the NYPD is by no means rare, especially in lower-income areas like Harlem. While it’s unfortunate that it takes a pretty, semi-famous pageant winner to bring police injustice into public eye while more dramatic cases of abuse go under the radar, Abreu hopes that the lawsuit will have a positive impact on others in the community.
“They didn’t show any respect. They didn’t care,” Abreu said. “I just hope the community becomes aware of the ways police harass people and make them feel bad. It was just a nightmare.”