New York - Window Ledge Smoker Mistaken For Jumper
New York - A pair of blundering cops mistook a downtown man's cigarette break for a suicide attempt, a lawsuit claims.
A lawyer enjoying a puff on the sill of his second-floor apartment window says he was wrestled to the floor by cops who hauled him off to the loony bin.
Mark Moody said he was taking his usual nicotine break on the window ledge of his Peck Slip home on a hot August day with a cigarette in one hand and a cellphone in the other, a scant 12 feet off the ground.
He was shocked when a police car rolled up and two cops jumped out.
"Are you about to commit suicide?" one cop asked.
"If I was going to commit suicide, this would be a pretty dumb place to do it," the 40-year-old trial lawyer scoffed. "If I jumped from here, I'd just sprain my ankle."
But the officers, who never said what prompted their concern, insisted Moody come downstairs.
Moody refused, explaining he was sitting on the sill so he wouldn't get smoke in the apartment. He even waved over a cabby he knew from the neighborhood, hoping the hack would confirm that the window is Moody's regular smoking spot.
But three ambulances and four other patrol cars pulled up before the cabby could move.
"An army of people arrived," Moody said.
Before he knew it, a beefy officer was inside his apartment, lifting him out of his own living-room window from behind, Moody said. The cop slammed him on the living-room floor while another kneeled on top of him and cuffed him, he claimed.
"I still don't know how they broke in," he said. "I never used to keep the chain on, but now I do."
The attorney was thrown into an ambulance and taken to Beth Israel Medical Center.
The on-duty psychiatrist apologized before quickly discharging him, Moody said.
"I talked to him for three minutes, and he said, 'Look, I'm really sorry. I apologize on behalf of the city,' " Moody recalled.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said, "Police responded to a 911 call of an emotionally disturbed person at the location. When police arrived, they observed the male sitting on the ledge talking erratically. Police Emergency Service officers were called, and the person was removed to the hospital for observation."
Moody, who The Post found still takes his cigarette breaks sitting in his open window, sued the city and the police officers for $400,000 in damages on Dec. 8 in Manhattan federal court.
"I wasn't doing anything," he said. "Maybe it should be a crime to smoke a cigarette, but at the moment it's not."