WASHINGTON (CN) – A man who claims several cops harassed and arrested him over his use of “mild profanity” during a casual conversation with his police officer friend can seek punitive damages, a federal judge ruled.
Mahinder Singh says his former close friend and police officer Raj Dohare “became extremely incensed” over Singh’s use of profanity in his presence. Singh says the two were “casually conversing” in Singh’s apartment when Dohare became upset and “stated that although he had been plaintiff’s friend, he would now ‘become his worst enemy.'”
Officer Dohare harassed Singh in abuse of his authority, baselessly citing law and falsely accusing him of crimes, according to the complaint. Then Dohare and two colleagues on the force allegedly wrote Singh five bogus traffic tickets and arrested the man for resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, making threats and assaulting an officer.
Singh says he was acquitted on all charges by a judge who pointed out in open court that Dohare was not credible. His complaint against the Metropolitan Police Department, the district and the three cops seeks damages for emotional distress and civil rights violations.
U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras found Tuesday that Singh’s claims over two of the traffic tickets could not stand, but he said the remaining claims fall within the statute of limitations and cannot be dismissed for inadequate notice.
Singh can also seek punitive damages for common-law violations, the court ruled.
“Indeed, according to the plaintiff’s allegations, not only did the district ignore the plaintiff’s pleas for help, but it vigorously prosecuted him for the false charges levied by the defendant officers,” Contreras wrote. “It thus appears that the plaintiff has alleged enough facts to plausibly show that the district engaged in a ‘willful disregard of [his] rights.'”