Ex-cop fights back after impersonation arrest

March 30, 2010 8:40:37 PM PDT
A former cop was busted, charged with impersonating a cop. She claims she was unfairly targeted because she'd repeatedly complained about sexual harassment by bosses in her precinct. It's an Eyewitness News exclusive.

Eyewitness News reporter Sarah Wallace: "Do you believe this was retaliation for your complaints?"
Nicole Barrasso: "Absolutely."
Wallace: "You believe this is all in retaliation?"
Barrasso: "Absolutely, I've had a lot of retaliation."

The 25-Year-old Barrasso spent three years in the NYPD at the 67th Precinct in Brooklyn, and 20 hours beginning early Monday locked up, charged with impersonating a cop.

"I said that I used to be on the job," she said. "I said I worked for them. I never said that I work for them now."

Barrasso resigned from the precinct in December. She claims she was driven out because she repeatedly complained about sexual harassment. There is documentation of her complaints. Early Monday morning, she was stopped in her minivan near her home in the 70th Precinct for talking on her cell phone. Initially, she was let go, she claims, and then pulled over again a short time later.

"The first time might have been random, I'm not 100 percent sure," she said. "But the second time, when they decided to follow me and arrest me, was 110 percent on purpose."

The criminal complaint says Barrasso stated, "I'm a cop, but I don't have my shield or anything else, except this hat."

That hat was an NYPD baseball cap that she placed on her dashboard.

"They're doing anything they can," she said. "They saw it, they said, 'Oh, that's it, we're gunning her for that.'"

She notes she still has most of her NYPD gear, except for her gun. If she wanted to impersonate an officer, she says, she wouldn't use a baseball hat.

"It's all he said, she said," she said. "They don't have anything on me. I didn't hurt anybody. I didn't pretend to arrest anybody."

An NYPD spokesman would only say Barrasso identified herself as a police officer.

The spokesman went on to say that at the time she resigned, she was facing departmental charges for associating with known criminals. He gave no specifics. A possible clue is that Barrasso's boyfriend said that more than a decade ago, he pleaded guilty to a theft charge.

Wallace: "The suggestion that you resigned under pressure because of this association with known criminals."
Barrasso: "Absolutely. It had had nothing to do with that. I've been getting harassed by them for three years.'

Barrasso, who was released on her own recognizance, says she is ready for the next round in this fight, which will take place on May 7, when she's due back her in court.

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