2 Protesters to Sue City for Alleged Civil Rights Violations

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Two anti-Wall Street protesters are filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city and police department Monday, alleging they were unlawfully searched and unlawfully arrested after participating in a protest at a Citibank branch in Greenwich Village last month.

Heather Carpenter, a nursing student, and her fiancé, Julio Jimenez, both 23, had joined about 20 Occupy Wall Street marchers who descended upon the bank on October 15 to rally against predatory lending practices and excessive fees. Some of them, including Carpenter, closed their Citibank accounts that day.  

Ron Kuby, who is representing both Carpenter and Jimenez, said Carpenter had already exited the bank after withdrawing her money, but an undercover police officer recognized her as one of the marchers and pulled her back into the bank.

"He grabs her, bear hugs her, and actually ends up lifting her, literally, by her breasts with either hand and drags her into the vestibule of Citibank," Kuby said.

Jimenez was grabbed by the neck and dragged back into the building, according to Kuby. Both Carpenter and Jimenez were charged with resisting arrest and criminal trespass.  

"This is currently a new crime of trespass," Kuby said. "The police drag you by your neck or by your breasts into a private building, and then you arrest you for being there."

He said the Manhattan District Attorney's Office has informed him the trespassing and resisting arrest charges against both his clients will be dropped.

The lawsuit does not specify the amount they seek in damages.  

The New York City Law Department said they will review the plaintiffs' papers after the city is served with the complaint.