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Authorities are investigating an NYPD officer over claims by a Brooklyn woman that the off-duty cop called her a "fucking dyke" before assaulting and choking her during an arrest earlier this month.
Stephanie Dorceant, a 29-year-old aspiring filmmaker, said in a statement that she was heading back from a concert with her girlfriend in the early hours of July 11 in Brooklyn when the incident occurred. The pair had just emerged from a cab and had begun walking to their shared apartment when a man allegedly bumped Dorceant from behind. When she asked if he was all right, he allegedly responded, "Mind your own business, you fucking dyke."
Words were exchanged and Dorceant claims that the off-duty NYPD officer, who was later named as Salvator Aquino in court documents,proceeded to punch her several times, choke her, and scream more gay slurs at her. She claims that she bit the officer to try and get him to stop the assault.
"When he had his hands around my neck I truly thought I was going to die," Dorceant said in a statement. "I could not breathe."
Aquino reportedly yelled at the cab driver, who was still at the curb, to "call the cops." When uniformed officers arrived at the scene, Dorceant said that they wrestled her to the ground and put their knees on her neck, shoulders, and back.
The women were handcuffed and taken into custody. Dorceant was later taken to the hospital before being transferred to central bookings, according to the Gothamist. She spent two days in jail, including a whole day on New York's notorious prison at Riker's Island.
"At my arraignment, they said that I had assaulted the cop and that I had used racial slurs," she said. "Even though I have no [police] record, and their story was a complete lie, bail was set and I ended up at Riker's Island."
Dorceant was released Monday on $1,000 bail. In a criminal complaint lodged against her, Aquino claims he heard the women arguing as he was walking to his car. The officer says they bumped into each other and that Dorceant attacked him and "punched him in the face." He then tried to arrest her but she resisted and "proceeded to bite [him] repeatedly about the arms, chest, finger, and torso, breaking [his] skin," the complaint alleges.
Dorceant denied this version of events at a press conference Thursday, and said the officer should be charged with a hate crime.
The NYPD's internal affairs department and the civil rights bureau of the Brooklyn district attorney's office have launched separate investigations into the incident.
Ben Moore, a lawyer for the women, said at the press conference he is confident "these charges will be dismissed against Stephanie and confident also that this officer — this renegade officer — will be prosecuted."