19-year-old Bronx resident Natalie Erlich was awarded $45,000 last week after her case against NYPD officer Jose Peinan settled out of court, the New York Post reports.

Erlich sued New York City in 2013 following an incident in which Officer Peinan—who was not wearing a uniform at the time—allegedly flirted with her, was rebuffed, and subsequently arrested Erlich and her friend and held them in the 52nd Precinct station overnight without cause. The suit added that one of the officers touched Erlich’s breasts while frisking her.

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According to the Post’s interview with Erlich, Officer Peinan and a second cop approached her and two friends to chat while they were grabbing an after-school snack:

“I had on a camouflage hat and [Peinan] had on camouflage pants,” Erlich, now 19, told The Post. “He said, ‘We match.’ I brushed him off and I laughed.”

Erlich went around the corner to buy a cup of hot cocoa, and the plainclothes cop followed her, she alleged.

“He said something slick like, ‘Where are you going?’ ” she added. “I said, ‘I’m going home.’ ”

When Erlich asked if he was a cop, he replied, “Maybe.” She then told him that’s “a cop answer.”

When Erlich asked why they were being cuffed, the officer allegedly responded: “You know why—you’re being a smartass.” When the case was settled last week, in addition to the payout, all charges against the teens were dropped.

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According to the Post, Officer José Peinan has been named in three additional lawsuits against the city that were later settled out of court. So, so glad to hear that our tax dollars are being put to good use.


Contact the author at ellie@jezebel.com.

Image via Getty.

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