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NYPD Detective Claims He Was Falsely Arrested For Driving Drunk

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- An NYPD detective filed a lawsuit Tuesday, alleging that he was falsely arrested for driving drunk by one of his fellow officers.

Attorney Frederick K. Brewington said his client, NYPD First Grade Detective Joseph Oquendo, was driving through a Brooklyn neighborhood after dropping someone off in May 2011, and fell asleep sitting straight up when he stopped at a red light.

A group of NYPD officers came up to Oquendo's vehicle, and surveillance video showed the officers standing around the vehicle for 10 minutes before they knocked on his window, Brewington said in a news release. Oquendo showed his badge and identification, and was then directed to leave the car and perform a field sobriety test, the release said.

The video showed Oquendo had no trouble getting out of the car and walked without losing balance, the release claimed. The officers did not conduct any blood or Breathalyzer tests, the release alleged.

But NYPD Sgt. Viet Cao said Oquendo was slumped behind the wheel and needed assistance, and said officers banged on Oquendo's window for several minutes before the detective woke up, the suit alleged. Oquendo was later arrested for drunken driving, the release said.

But officers at the scene said Cao's testimony was different from what actually happened, and Oquendo was later acquitted, the suit said. Oquendo claims he was retaliated against by the Police Department for opposing the charges, the suit alleged.

"Mr. Cao has a history of providing false testimony in order to justify his arrests of innocent people," Mr. Brewington said in the release. "When you have a situation that is going to cheapen the badge and the uniform, by making false and unreasonable statements in the light of true and strong evidence, that is something we have to stand up against."

The lawsuit names the City of New York and Cao as defendants. It seeks damages for trouble "caused to him and his career" and punitive damages and fees, the release said.

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