Man wrongly accused of looting sues city

February 19, 2013 2:17:13 PM PST
Storm debris still lines many of the streets in Coney Island as still-struggling residents line-up for help.

But not all of the scars in the wake of Superstorm Sandy are so easy to see, just ask Donald Franks.

"That was a whole other ordeal after the ordeal. You know, it's still hurtful now. Yes, I'm angry," Franks said.

He's angry because he says he was falsely arrested after Sandy hit and jailed for nine days and seven of them were on Rikers Island.

"For somebody that never had been locked up before or have a police record to go to Rikers and to be subjected to strip searches, their food and to be treated like a criminal," Franks said.

Franks was accused of looting the Key Food market on Neptune Avenue. It was just one of several local businesses ransacked right after the storm.

He says officers arrested him in the courtyard of his apartment building, right behind the store, and refused to believe he was simply heading into his home.

A grand jury finally did and the charges against him were dropped.

He has now hired an attorney and filed suit against the city.

"What happened to him was really everyone's worst nightmare," said Baree Fett, Franks' attorney.

A city law department spokesperson would only say, "We are reviewing the lawsuit. Claims in a complaint are merely allegations unless and until proven otherwise."

'It's about this not happening to anyone else," Franks said.

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