Monday, July 14, 2008

Watch Where You Walk in Sunset Park

Yesterday's Daily News had an article about a Sunset Park resident, Monica Gonzalez, who was arrested for prostitution on her way to the Lutheran Medical Center. This occurred at about 2:30 AM back in November, but it's in the news now due to Gonzalez' complaint and suit regarding the case. The charges against her were dropped after she hired an attorney.

Commenters on the Daily News site wonder what Gonzalez was doing out at 2:30 AM by herself; they question her "true" motivation for being on 3rd Avenue. Well, for those who know the area, it's a four block walk to LMC (2nd and 55th) from Gonzalez' home on 53rd Street. She was "picked up" on 3rd Avenue between 53rd and 54th. Sounds like on the way to 55th Street to me. Not only that, but she was wearing a long winter coat. How many hookers do you see covering up? Also, Officer Spencer (the arresting officer) claimed that Gonzalez had been arrested before. Wrong. His partner even said, at the time of the arrest, that they should let her go and that he'd never seen her on the street before.

The bottom line is that a woman who lives in the neighborhood was out late and mistaken for a prostitute. The charges held despite her house address being local and a family home, an officer calling an ambulance from the precinct house (20 blocks from LMC, not four), and the arresting officer having a past with another suit for false arrest (involving another Latina, by the way).

Most cops (don't argue!) are good cops. However, there are some who will take advantage of vulnerable situations - just like any other group of people. Thankfully, this woman was able to hire a lawyer and have the charges against her dropped. Thankfully, it doesn't sound like she suffered any repercussions in her work-life (the actual one). Believe me, if a teacher had been in her place, that teacher would have been pulled out of the classroom and suffered truckloads of whispers and ridicule at work.

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