Ex-transit officer Jere Upsher’s lawsuit, which involves a criminal case that was dismissed and sealed, charts new territory, says Upsher’s lawyer, John Scola.
“It violates the law,” Scola told the Daily News. “It’s the same as if it was a doctor or a custodian. It doesn’t matter that they’re police officers.
“They’re protected just like anybody else.”
Upsher got into hot water in November 2017 when she was arrested and accused of misdemeanor assault and menacing following a row in her Brownsville, Brooklyn apartment with her then-16-year-old daughter Briannah over the teen’s refusal to introduce her new boyfriend to her parents.
“I’m old-fashioned,” said Upsher, 41. “You can date at 16, but I want to meet the young man. That became an issue. And she was going late to school. There were other things as well.”
Briannah told police that Upsher hit her with an iPad and threw her out of the family’s apartment.
Her daughter’s claims to police were untrue, Upsher said.
When Briannah refused to cooperate further with authorities, the charges were adjourned contemplating dismissal, then later dismissed. The criminal case was ordered sealed.
Upsher said her daughter later admitted to her she made up the allegations to get back at her.
But based on the sealed case, the NYPD moved forward with departmental charges, Upsher and Scola say.
According to the suit, Upsher was offered a plea deal under which she would forfeit 30 days pay, be placed on dismissal probation and attend a domestic violence class. She turned down the offer, went to trial and lost.
A NYPD judge recommended she lose 63 days pay and be placed on dismissal probation but then-Commissioner Dermot Shea, who is named in the suit, disagreed with the penalty and told Upsher he would fire her if she didn’t resign.
Upsher said that at that point, she realized she had no future with the NYPD. She resigned and now works as an economic mobility coach.
Upsher’s lawsuit against the department was filed in May in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
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The NYPD wouldn’t answer any questions about its policy about using sealed arrests in departmental cases. It also declined comment on the lawsuit itself.
New York law says sealed arrests are supposed to be a “nullity,” and can not be used “as a disqualification of any person … to pursue or engage in any lawful activity, occupation, [or] professions.”
Arguing that NYPD rules are on Upsher’s side, Scola noted that in an April 2022 affidavit in an unrelated case, NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters Ernest Hart did not name internal discipline matters as an example of when sealed arrest information can be used.
But not all experts in NYPD discipline cases agree. A lawyer who has represented scores of police officers in the One Police Plaza trial room says the NYPD discipline cases operate under different rules than those in criminal court. In disciplinary hearings, the department can legally cite sealed criminal cases, the lawyer said.
Upsher’s daughter, now 21, still has the same boyfriend — and they now have a baby girl together.
“My daughter and I are fine,” Upsher said. “I forgive her. What else can I do? She’s my daughter. She put a boy in front of her family.
“She knows she was wrong.”
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