Man sues police, city of Bridgeport over mistaken identity arrests

BRIDGEPORT, Connecticut (WABC) -- A Connecticut man is suing the city of Bridgeport and its police department after he was arrested three times and was detained in a repeated case of mistaken identity.

Pedro Martinez is not the Hall of Fame baseball pitcher, and more importantly, he is not the Pedro Martinez wanted in Texas.

"I don't know if he's tall, short, how much he weighs," said Pedro from Connecticut.

He's had three separate run-ins with police over the last 20 years because of his namesake in Houston.

Each time, officers have checked for distinctive tattoos on his forearms which Martinez does not have. Twice he was let go after brief questioning.

"You're lucky because you're not him," Martinez was told.

But now the 52-year-old is suing Bridgeport police and the city after the third incident last year.

Martinez was stopped while walking home and despite explaining he is not the man wanted 1,700 miles away, he was arrested.

Martinez spent a total of four days in custody, until state's attorney investigators checked his fingerprints. There was no match and Martinez was let go.

"Put yourself in my shoes, sleeping on a cold hard bench," Martinez said.

Martinez's is suing for the emotional distress, embarrassment and anxiety he says he's suffered.

Attorney Robert Berke says the illegal detainment violated his client's civil rights.

Bridgeport officials declined to comment.

(Some information from the Associated Press)
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