Stained by False Amber Alert, 9/11 Hero Says

     MANHATTAN (CN) — A 9/11 first responder targeted by an amber alert wants damages from New York City, saying authorities recklessly portrayed him as the suicidal abductor of an unknown toddler, though the child was his “own daughter who was legally and safely in his custody.”
     Patrick Giblin, a 50-year-old military veteran from Staten Island, retired from the New York City Police Department because of post-traumatic stress and other injuries connected to his service as a responder when planes brought down the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
     Since leaving the NYPD in 2008, Giblin says, he has been receiving treatment at a local Department of Veterans Affairs hospital and the Mount Sinai’s WTC Mental Health Program.
     A lawsuit Giblin filed Wednesday in Manhattan Supreme Court describes a disastrous visit to the Mount Sinai program that occurred one morning almost exactly one year ago.
     Giblin says that he regularly brought his daughter to medical appointments, but on July 30, 2015, an unlicensed post-doctoral psychology fellow named refused his request.
     The retired officer allegedly urged the doctor to reconsider, and she changed her mind after consultation with her supervisor.
     Giblin says both doctors asked him whether he felt suicidal and homicidal. Even though he said no, they recommended that he be hospitalized, according to the 39-page complaint.
     Nevertheless the doctors let Gilbin leave, according to the complaint, and none of the hospital’s security officers or personnel restrained him from leaving the building.
     He says that he took his daughter to play in a local park near the NYPD’s 23rd precinct when, around noon, the doctors called 911 and falsely reported that Giblin was a danger to himself and his child.
     At 2:40 p.m., the precinct’s duty captain and detective sent out an amber alert for a child abduction stating: “The child is described as a white female approximately 3 years old and is possibly related to the suspect,” according to the complaint.
     Giblin says that the alert disseminated his age, clothing, appearance and confidential medical diagnosis to millions of people and media outlets, prompting a “public, citywide manhunt.”
     Calling the NYPD “grossly irresponsible,” Giblin claims that the officers recklessly depicted him as “armed, homicidal and suicidal.”
     Adding injury to insult, they also allegedly confiscated his wife’s phone and surreptitiously posed as her in communications.
     “This outrageous and harassing conduct further violated plaintiff’s privacy rights,” the complaint states.
     Giblin says he learned about the alert while en route to a Veterans Affairs hospital in Brooklyn.
     “When plaintiff arrived at the VA Hospital, there was an army of law enforcement officers from various agencies and an NYPD detective from hostage negotiation who confronted plaintiff at gunpoint,” the complaint states.
     Though authorities cleared Giblin of any threat toward himself or his daughter at this point, he says the NYPD told the press that the suspect and child were safely in the custody of law enforcement.
     Giblin says the alert continued to be sent out for “several days” after he was cleared.
     The Staten Island man suffered “serious personal injuries, irreparable damage to his reputation, was subjected to public humiliation, a citywide manhunt, harassment, intimidation and death threats, and was caused to suffer severe emotional and psychological pain and mental anguish,” according to the complaint.
     He demands punitive damages against the city, Mount Sinai, the doctors, and the officers for defamation, medical malpractice, gross negligence, and other charges.
     Giblin’s Manhattan-based attorney Mariel LaSasso and her co-counsel Joe Murray denounced the NYPD and Mount Sinai for what they describe as the shabby treatment of a man who served his city and his country.
     “Mount Sinai and the NYPD’s conduct in issuing a false amber alert against him and disclosing his private medical information to millions of people is not only shocking and outrageous but disrespectful to a New York and American hero,” they said in a statement.
     A spokeswoman for Mount Sinai declined to comment on the lawsuit.
     A New York City Law Department spokesman said that the complaint will be reviewed.

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