The latest city resident to cash in on police misconduct would raise a glass to toast his victory, except he doesn’t drink.
The NYPD found that out the hard way when cops tried to charge Oliver Wiggins with driving while intoxicated to cover up for a police officer who ran a marked SUV through a Brooklyn stop sign and plowed into Wiggins’ car.
Wiggins, 33, received close to $ 1 million from the city for his troubles, but not before he was arrested and charged with impaired driving, had his driver’s license suspended and was hit with a repair bill for his 2004 Nissan Maxima that his insurance company would not cover because of the DWI bust.
Never mind that a Breathalyzer test he took at the East Flatbush scene on April 19, 2015, showed no alcohol in his blood.
While at the hospital, after the crash at Glenwood Road and E. 43rd St., Wiggins volunteered to have his blood tested for alcohol or drugs at the hospital. That test came back negative. Reports from the EMT and DWI technician each said Wiggins had no signs of intoxication.
That didn’t stop the arresting officer, Justin Joseph, from officially reporting Wiggins had slurred speech, watery eyes, an odor of alcohol on his breath and was observed swaying. Three months later, prosecutors dismissed the charges.
Wiggins’ lawyer, Scott Rynecki, said Wiggins doesn’t drink. Wiggins filed a lawsuit in Brooklyn Supreme Court against the city and Joseph, Jason Conway, Greg Gingo, Matthew Sabella and Chris Connor, who are all police officers.
Wiggins also suffered “significant injuries that require surgery to his wrist,” Rynecki said.
The ordeal inspired Wiggins to become a correction officer to enforce the law, like his father does in his native Jamaica. “This situation really made him understand the power of the badge and that police have to be honest because that’s how an innocent man can face frivolously charges,” Rynecki said.
City officials decided to avoid a trial. “Settling this case was in the best interest of the city,” a Law Department spokesman said.
After Wiggins’ criminal case was dismissed, Rynecki took the case a step further. In July 2015, he sent a letter to then-District Attorney Kenneth Thompson requesting his office investigate the officers’ misconduct.
No charges have been filed against the cops. All of the officers involved are still employed by the department.