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Former Public Advocate staffer suing city for ‘false’ detainment

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A black former New York City Public Advocate’s office employee is suing the city, alleging he was unduly assaulted and detained by cops while attempting to pass through a “frozen zone” during last year’s West Indian Day Parade.

Kristen John Foy was with Councilman Jumaane Williams on their way to a luncheon at the Brooklyn Museum when they entered an area that police had cordoned off near the Brooklyn Library.

Foy and Williams were “lawfully present” and wearing “VIP credentials” specially issued for the parade, according to published reports, but that didn’t stop officers from throwing the men onto the ground and slapping them in cuffs.

“When I was tripped, I felt something pop in my knee,” Foy told the Daily News. “When I was lifted off the ground, rear-cuffed, something snapped in my shoulder.”

Foy has since needed surgery for his knee, and requires an additional operation to mend a shoulder injury.

The councilman is not a plaintiff in the suit, but Williams is an outspoken critic of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy, and often sites the West Indian Day Parade run-in when critquing the controversial crime-stopping tactic, which he says is racially biased.

“I was well within my rights to be doing what I was doing,” Williams said in a press conference. “If we were white elected officials, this wouldn’t have happened.”

The duo claimed they flashed their identification and said that an NYPD supervisor gave them permission to enter the blocked-off area, but the officers wouldn’t hear it.

According to police, an assault on an NYPD captain prompted officers to take Williams and Foy into custody, although Williams later said that the incident occurred blocks away from where the two were cuffed and detained.

“Something happened to a police captain four blocks away and across the street,” said Williams “[The punch] wasn’t thrown at the scene, and I want to see evidence that a punch occurred during that incident.”

Foy is seeking an unspecified amount of monetary and punitive damages.

“This isn’t just about what happened to me,” Foy said.

“It happens thousands of times daily to Latino and African-American men who don’t have a high profile like me to stand up and say something about it,” he said. “The ultimate bottom line will be a change in policy and a change in police behavior.”

Mayor Bloomberg tried to tamp down the controversy at the time, recommending that Williams and the cops who detained him hash out their differences over a cold beer — much like the one President Obama had with black Harvard Professor Louis Gates Jr. and the white Massachusetts police sergeant who arrested the professor for disorderly conduct when the sergeant responded to a burglary at Gates’s home in 2009.

Williams turned down the mayor’s powwow.

Stockbroker faces 25 years

A Brooklyn federal jury found Pino Baldassarre, the former President of Dolphin Digital Media, Inc., and stockbroker Robert Mouallem guilt of conspiracy, securities fraud, and commercial bribery charges, which could net the duo a maximum of 25 years behind bars.

Baldassarre was fired from Dolphin, which creates social networking websites for children, in 2009, but still retained a substantial amount of stock.

Shortly thereafter, Baldassarre and another Dolphin shareholder met with an undercover FBI agent — referred to as “John Doe” throughout the trial — who claimed to have access to a network of brokers, and to have authority to trade in those accounts on behalf of the fictional brokers’ clients, according to evidence presented at the trial.

The undercover agent agreed to have these stockbrokers purchase, through their clients’ accounts, Dolphin shares owned by Baldassarre and the other shareholder in exchange for a 30 percent kickback off the sale proceeds, prosecutors alleged.

Mouallem, who prosecutors say knew of the kickback arrangement, ensured that the undercover agent’s network of stockbrokers bought the conspirators’ Dolphin stock, and not Dolphin stock owned by people outside of the conspirator’s circle.

Baldassarre, Mouallem, and the other shareholder orchestrated five test sales of Dolphin stock in 2010, through the network of stockbrokers fabricated by the FBI. In each case, Baldassarre paid the promised kickback to the FBI operative, prosecutors alleged.

Reach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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