-- Ravi In A Summer Appearance
@ The Hygienic, New London, Ct
Settlement Comes During Discovery Phase,
Re; Wrongful Arrest / False Imprisonment
Action Filed By NY Attorney Bruce Baron
-- Atty.Bruce Baron With Rapper Foxy Brown
Courtroom Sketch By
"There's nothing more humiliating than being falsely arrested and falsely accused on an improper warrant," said Bruce Baron, the lawyer for Shankar.
By ANDY THIBAULT
The Cool Justice Report
Oct. 14, 2010
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story is available for reprint courtesy of The Cool Justice Report, http://cooljustice.blogspot.com
New York, NY - Ravi Shankar, the poet and English professor at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, has won a monetary settlement from the city of New York after being falsely arrested and held over a weekend in 2009.
"Always a good day when you can bag a sand nigger," Shankar reported one cop said during the bust following a literary event.
It was later determined that a different Ravi Shankar had an outstanding arrest warrant in Brooklyn, according to the professor's notice of claim. Adding to the humiliation and Kafkaesque nightmare, a judge who knew the wrong person was arrested failed to act and made light of the dilemma, stating: "I don't care."
Shankar is appearing tonight - Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010 @ 7:30 p.m. - at Szechuan Tokyo in West Hartford, Conn., as part of the "Battle of the Giant Poets." The evening also features The Jen Allen Jazz Combo with vocalists. It was organized to support Congressional candidate Ken Krayeske's campaign for civil rights and economic and social justice.
Even after cops called Shankar a "sand nigger" and hummed "Here Comes The Bride" as he walked in a manacled procession at 100 Centre St., the Central Connecticut State University professor had yet to endure his greatest indignity.
During his incarceration on a weekend in July, Shankar slept upright on a bench in perhaps several 20-and 30-minute interludes. There were fights among the many bodies on the floor in the holding tank. Shankar notice that virtually all of those held were minorities, some of them accused of petty crimes such as loitering, walking through a park at the wrong time [trespassing] or operating without a peddler's license.
Everyone shared the stench of the open-air toilet. Then, it got worse.
Shankar met Judge Ruth Pickholz.
Shankar's public defender, Victor Castelli, had reached an understanding with the prosecutor, Matthew Montana. There was a big mistake. Charges would be dropped.
"The warrant is not him, judge," Castelli said. "It says it's a 5' 10" white male [weighing 140 pounds] on the description that the police showed him …"
Shankar stands 6' 2" and weighs 200 pounds. His skin is dark, dark enough to be stopped in New York and elsewhere when Driving While Brown.
"Yes," Pickholz said. "They say he's a white male. This doesn't look like him."
The public defender and the prosecutor tried to tell the judge about their agreement, which would have ended the matter.
"I don't care," Pickholz said.
When she found out Shankar was a professor, Pickholz didn't want to hear anything from a public defender.
Castelli tried to tell the judge about Shankar's bogus arrest: "He's been in jail for a couple days on a mistaken warrant …"
"Sir," she told Shankar. "I'm not listening."
"She had no interest in the false arrest," Shankar said Tuesday.
Shankar told The New Britain, CT Herald he believed he was pulled over for "Driving While Brown." He passed a Breathalyzer test but was arrested on the false warrant.
Baron, who handles numerous high-profile cases, once won reinstatement for a New York social worker who was fired after daring to investigate Woody Allen for child abuse.
"There's nothing more humiliating than being falsely arrested and falsely accused on an improper warrant," Baron said.
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Atty. Bruce Baron
Of New York Social Worker Paul Williams
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