Wrongly charged teen sues city, NYPD

May 23, 2011 3:20:02 PM PDT
The NYPD and New York City are both about to be sued by a college student in the Bronx who was wrongly charged and tried, he says, with breaking a car windshield with a rock.

It turns out his friend did it, and he tried to confess, but cops wouldn't hear of it.

"I considered seeing a psychiatrist, a therapist for this. It really stressed me out," said Bryan Dale, the plaintiff.

That's how 19-year-old Bryan Dale says being accused of a crime he didn't commit affected him.

His ordeal began in July of 2009.

He was hanging out with several friends along Riverdale Avenue in the Bronx when one of his buddies shattered a car window with a rock.

The boys ran to nearby Ewen Park, but it didn't take long for a uniformed police officer to show up and arrest Bryan.

"About 30 minutes later, the boy who broke the windshield came into the precinct with his mother and confess," Dale said.

That teen in fact, wrote out a written and signed confession saying he smashed the window because the car's owner was going out with his sister.

Even with that admission, that teenager was released, but Bryan was officially charged with criminal mischief.

"It's so rare for someone to come forward and confess, why was that ignored?" said Neill Wollerstein, the Dale's attorney.

Bryan's case finally went to trial in February of this year in Bronx Criminal Court.

A judge acquitted him of the charges.

And now his attorney has filed a lawsuit against the city and the NYPD alleging false arrest, malicious prosecution and violation of civil rights.

"I just want to know why I was charged and I want justice," Dale said.

In a statement, the Bronx DA's office told Eyewitness News they went forward with the case because the owner of the car knew Bryan's name and identified him, even though someone else took responsibility.