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New York Man Falsely Arrested and Maliciously Prosecuted Settles Suit with Nassau County Officials

by Christopher Zoukis

A New York man—whose partner reported to police that he made threats on her life and who was subsequently arrested and jailed before the charge was dismissed— agreed to a settlement with Nassau County, officers, and officials.

     On March 27, 2010, Richard Hunt and Rachel Giannetti had an argument. Giannetti called the police and reported that Hunt pushed her against a wall, grabbed her throat and threatened that he would smash her head in and watch it bleed. She then went back to the police twice to retract her statement, but was told the matter was out of her hands. On March 31, Hunt was arrested, charged with menacing in the third degree, and held in jail overnight. Hunt appeared in court in April and May, and the charge was dismissed on July 26.

     On January 13, 2011, Hunt filed a complaint in federal court against Nassau County, Nassau County police Officer Hudson, Sergeant Gary J. Ruggiero, Detective Bruce F. Coffey, five unnamed officers and five unnamed Nassau County assistant district attorneys.

    Hunt argued that his false arrest and malicious prosecution violated his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as New York state law. He also put forward a Monell claim against the county for maintaining a policy and practice that led to his unlawful arrest and prosecution. Hunt sought $1 million in damages, plus legal expenses.

On July 10, 2012, Judge Sandra J. Feuerstein approved a settlement between the parties.

See: Hunt v. County of Nassau, et al., United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Case No. 2:11-cv-00207-SJF-ETB (July 10, 2012)

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Related legal case

Hunt v. County of Nassau, et al.