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Lawyer for Public Advocate says cops roughed her up: suit

Chaumtoli Huq filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Manhattan Federal Court against NYPD cops for allegedly arresting her without cause.Mohammed N. Mujumder via Facebook Chaumtoli Huq filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Manhattan Federal Court against NYPD cops for allegedly arresting her without cause.

BY DAREH GREGORIAN

The top lawyer for Public Advocate Letitia James isn’t exactly advocating NYPD practices.

In a blistering lawsuit filed late Tuesday in Manhattan Federal Court, Chaumtoli Huq says NYPD officers used “unreasonable and wholly unprovoked force” when they arrested her without cause while she was leaving a pro-Palestinian protest in July.

The bust is “characteristic of a pattern and practice of the NYPD in aggressive overpolicing of people of color and persons lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights,” the suit says.

Huq, who’d taken a leave of absence as general counsel to James to work on factory conditions in her native Bangladesh a day before the arrest, says she believes she was targeted because she’s a Muslim woman.

Huq, 42, was wearing a traditional South Asian tunic while waiting for her husband and their 6- and 10-year-old kids to come out from a bathroom stop at Ruby Tuesday’s in Times Square when she was told to leave by an officer.

She said she explained she was waiting for her family — and then the officer “without any legal basis, grabbed Ms. Huq, turned her and pushed her against the wall and placed her under arrest,” according to the suit.

When she said she was in pain, one of the officers, Ryan Lathrop, told her, “Shut your mouth,” the suit alleges.

When he found out she had a different last name than her hubby, he allegedly told her “In America, wives take the names of their husbands.”

Huq was waiting for her husband and two young children who were going to the bathroom inside the Ruby Tuesday’s in Times Square in July.Google Maps Huq was waiting for her husband and two young children who were going to the bathroom inside the Ruby Tuesday’s in Times Square in July.

She was held for nine hours after the officers falsely claimed she had refused instructions to move and had “flailed her arms and twisted her body” to make it hard for them to handcuff her, the suit says.

She accepted an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal five days later, meaning the charges against her will be dropped if she does not got rearrested within the next few months.

Her lawyer, Rebecca Heinegg, said her client accepted the plea deal because her planned fellowship in Bangladesh made it impossible for her to fight the charges over a protracted period of time.

Huq’s suit blames the officers’ conduct on “city policies, practices and/or customs of failing to supervise, train, instruct and discipline police officers and encouraging their misconduct.”

It also says the department has a “practice or custom of officers lying under oath, falsely swearing out criminal complaints, or otherwise falsifying or fabricating evidence.”

The suit says those “customs and practices” are “encouraged and/or condoned by supervisory and policy making officers and officials of the NYPD and the City,” including “Commissioner [Bill] Bratton.”

She wants unspecified damages for her “physical, psychological and emotional injuries, mental anguish, suffering, lost wages, humiliation and embarrassment” — and also retraining for Midtown South cops.

A rep for the city Law Department said, “We will review the lawsuit.”

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, left, has called for NYPD cops to be equipped with cameras to record their interactions with people.Vanessa A. Alvarez/AP New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, left, has called for NYPD cops to be equipped with cameras to record their interactions with people.

Reps for the NYPD and the Public Advocate’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Huq told the Daily News via email from Bangladesh that she had gone to the rally not “as a lawyer, but as a mom” — and she’s fighting what happened because she is a mother.

“I was hesitant to bring a case. My job is to be behind the scenes, and help all New Yorkers,” she said, but she realized “that I can use what happened to me to raise awareness about overpolicing in communities of color. I want there to be a dialogue on policing and community relations,” she said.

“I would like NYPD to be trained on interacting with South Asian/Muslim community as well as gender sensitivity because of his outrageous comments about not believing I was married.”

She also wants Lathrop off the job.

“I would hate to think that the officer did this another mother’s child,” she said.

DNAinfo, which first reported the suit, said that Huq has a pending Civilian Complaint Review Board file against the officer.

Reps for the NYPD and the Public Advocate’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Last month, James called for NYPD cops to be fitted body cameras to record interactions with the public.

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