New York City Police Sergeant Sues Ramapo Police Department for False Arrest and Civil Rights Violations

By Joel Grossbarth

A New York City Police Sergeant is suing the Town of Ramapo and one of its officers claiming false arrest, malicious prosecution and violation of federal civil rights in connection with an arrest made in July 29, 2016.

The Plaintiff, Joel Silverman, a Sergeant stationed out of the 26th precinct Detective Squad in upper Manhattan, claims that he was arrested by Ramapo Police Officer Thomas Byrnes after his estranged wife made false accusations to the police. According to documents filed in Rockland County Supreme Court, Sergeant Silverman informed Ramapo Police Officer Byrnes that he and his wife were going through a divorce and she falsified the allegations in a form of retaliation for filing the divorce action. Upon his arrest, Silverman allegedly informed Officer Byrnes that at the time, it was claimed he committed the crimes; he was on duty and working at the 26th precinct. While in custody, Sergeant Silverman requested the Ramapo Police to call the 26th precinct to verify his alibi; however, no calls were made.

Rather, Sergeant Silverman was given a court appearance date and he was prosecuted for the crimes alleged to have occurred by the District Attorney’s office. The prosecution lasted for over one year when the charges against him were dismissed in open court on October 27, 2017. Sergeant Silverman alleges that in the approximately 15 months between his arrest and dismissal of the charges, no one bothered to confirm whether he was actually working, and thus, could not have committed the acts alleged by his estranged wife.

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages for the false arrest, malicious prosecution, negligence and violations of federal civil rights based upon the actions of Officer Byrnes and the Ramapo Police Department. The Town of Ramapo has not yet frilled an answer to the lawsuit, but did demand that the case be removed to Federal District Court based upon the claims of civil rights violations. Calls to Sergeant Silverman’s attorney Joseph Maria, Esq. for comment were not returned.