The City of New York and several individual Rikers Island correction officers are facing a proposed class action lawsuit that claims they repeatedly arrested prison visitors without cause under false charges of smuggling “K2” synthetic marijuana in books.
The case claims the five named plaintiffs were visitors at the prison and brought books to either read while they were waiting or give to the inmates they were visiting. After successfully passing through security and being sniffed by canines, the plaintiffs, the complaint alleges, were each subsequently detained by correction officers and told they were being arrested for attempting to smuggle K2 on the pages of the books they brought with them. The lawsuit contends that none of the plaintiffs actually had any K2 in their possession, however, and that their arrests were made without probable cause. All charges against the plaintiffs were subsequently dropped during their first court appearances after their respective arraignments, the case explains.
Even though all the allegedly false charges were eventually dropped, the case contends the plaintiffs still suffered significant negative consequences from their “baseless” arrests. After their respective arrests, the plaintiffs were prohibited from visiting their loved ones at any New York City correctional facility for as much as a year, the suit says. The case further claims that the inmates the plaintiffs were attempting to visit were also harmed in that they were barred from all contact visits for months afterward. Moreover, the complaint says the plaintiffs’ arrests caused emotional distress, deprived them of their freedom and even cost one plaintiff his job.
The lawsuit looks to represent a class comprised of all individuals who were arrested during visits to Rikers Island for allegedly carrying K2 in books or paper material and subsequently had all criminal charges against them dismissed.