Every now and then, police departments actually pay for the mistakes their officers make. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen nearly enough.
Oliver Wiggins, 33, was the victim of an accident caused by a New York Police Department (NYPD) officer on April 19, 2015. But instead of being treated as such, the police tried framing him with a driving while intoxicated charge. After suing for his innocence, Wiggins has received nearly $1 million from the city.
After Justin Joseph, a police officer, ran a stop sign, crashing into Wiggins’ car, Joseph arrested Wiggins, claiming that he was impaired. He then had his driver’s license suspended, and his insurance company sent him the bill to cover the repairs on his 2014 Nissan Maxima.
But the problem is that Wiggins simply does not drink, Wiggins’ lawyer, Scott Rynecki, said. And while the driver didn’t show any signs of impairment, Joseph claimed the driver had slurred speech and an odor of alcohol on his breath. So once in the hospital, Wiggins asked to have his blood tested for drugs and alcohol. The results were clear: Wiggins didn’t have a drop of alcohol in his blood.
Despite the test results, the officer carried on with his little show.
Within three months, however, prosecutors had completely dismissed the charges against Wiggins.
After the the ordeal he went through, Wiggins decided to sue. The documents were filed in the Brooklyn Supreme Court, and the defendants were the officers, Joseph, Jason Conway, Greg Gingo, Matthew Sabella, and Chris Connor.
The horrific accident didn’t just leave Wiggins with a big mechanic bill. He also suffered “significant injuries that require surgery to his wrist,” Rynecki explained. As such, he required more help to recover his health.
In an attempt to keep the case out of court, the law department was quick to settle after dismissing the case. Perhaps it was afraid of how much bad publicity the NYPD would get. But what’s worse is that, in the end, all officers involved in the incident remained employed. As a result, Wiggins’ lawyer wrote a letter to then-District Attorney Kenneth Thompson asking his office to investigate the case of misconduct.
If there was any case where .@BrooklynDA had the opportunity to send a message to other police officers to be honest and professional, the Oliver Wiggins case was a prime example.— Christina Carrega (@ChrisCarrega) March 2, 2018
As Wiggins pushes to make sure the cops involved in the cover-up pay for their mistakes, this experience appears to have inspired him to do good.
Now, he’s become a corrections officer and will enforce the law, just as his father does in Jamaica, hoping to truly help people instead of trying to ruin somebody’s life to cover up for a cop’s mistake.
We surely hope he’s able to inspire others around him.