Sculptor Reaches Settlement with City of New York after Being Falsely Arrested for Possession of Illegal Knife

Friday, November 14, 2014

NEW YORK, NY — Ernest Holzberg and Associates has announced that the firm has reached a $7,500 settlement with the City of New York on behalf of a client who was falsely arrested for possession of an illegal knife.

On September 17, 2013, “Jonathan W.” was approached by an NYPD officer who noticed that he was carrying a knife. Jonathan explained that it was a Spyderco UK Pen Knife, which he uses for his work as a sculptor. The officer asked Jonathan to show him the knife and then attempted to open the blade several times with a “wrist-flick” — a technique that is used to open a “gravity knife,” which is illegal in New York City. After opening the blade halfway, the officer was finally able to open the knife fully using a wrist-flick. Although the knife did not possess the properties of a gravity knife — such as a locking mechanism — the officer deemed it illegal and arrested Jonathan on charges of possession of an illegal knife.

Jonathan was then taken to a precinct, where he was booked and placed in a holding cell for more than an hour before being given a desk appearance ticket. He appeared in Criminal Court three times over the next five months. On February 23, 2014, the District Attorney dropped the case, thanks to the help of an expert witness, who assisted Jonathan in proving that the knife was, in fact, legal. Two months after the dismissal, Jonathan filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court for false arrest and malicious prosecution. On October 28, 2014, he reached a settlement with the city for $7,500.

“We are glad to see our client financially compensated by the city for its prosecutorial overreach and its infringement of the rights of knife owners,” said Richard M. Holzberg, Partner, Ernest Holzberg and Associates. “If you are a law-abiding knife owner and you believe your rights are being violated or if you have been falsely arrested for any reason, please contact an attorney concentrating in false arrest immediately.”

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