Putnam Settles Lawsuit Alleging False Arrest

Legislators approve $130K payment

Putnam County legislators voted unanimously on Oct. 1 to approve a $130,000 settlement with three people who sued the Sheriff’s Department last year alleging false arrest.

In the lawsuit, filed in federal court in White Plains, Nicole Cannizzaro, Alexander Schvets and Jonathan Wilson, all residents of Connecticut, said that deputies in an unmarked car pulled them over in Carmel in February 2018 because a deputy said they had a taillight out.

Schvets, who was driving, said an officer accused him of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol; he said he replied that he was in recovery and had been sober for 18 months. The plaintiffs said the officers removed a bag from the vehicle, identified the 13 round white pills inside as Ecstasy, and arrested all three plaintiffs.

They were taken to the county jail and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance before being released on bail. The county also distributed their mug shots, and Wilson said he was fired from his job.

The lawsuit states the items were actually plastic plugs that Schvets had used on a construction job. It said that in April 2018, at a second court appearance, the charges against all three plaintiffs were dismissed.

In its response to the lawsuit, the Sheriff’s Department said its deputies acted in good faith, but in August 2019 the parties agreed to settle.

“The charges against us were entirely false,” said the plaintiffs in a statement released through their attorney. “We are very happy to have been fully vindicated.”

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