On July 11, Stephanie Dorceant was walking home from an Afropunk show with her girlfriend, Nandi Allman, when, she says, a large man bumped into her from behind. Dorceant, in a statement given through her attorney, said the man told her to “mind your own business, you fucking dyke.”
That’s when things spun out of control.
Dorceant and Allman both insist that the man berated the pair with slurs and curses before attacking Dorceant, punching her in the face, and ripping her clothes before throwing her to the ground and choking her to the point of asphyxiation. “Truly thought I was going to die,” she said.
As it turned out, the alleged attacker was an off-duty NYPD officer.
Officer Salvatore Aquino, described as a 6-foot-tall, 200 pound man, says that the couple walked past him and attacked him out of nowhere. Aquino also says that Dorceant, who, according to Gothamist, weighs about 110 pounds and stands 5’6″, punched and bit him “over and over, in the arms, chest, finger, and torso,” and that his injuries were just as severe as Dorceant’s.
Both Dorceant and Aquino were treated at a hospital for their injuries.
Dorceant and Allman were both jailed for assaulting an officer, and now the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office has slammed Dorceant with a lawsuit for second- and third-degree assault, resisting arrest, harassment, and menacing.
Aquino was previously sued in 2011 for use of unreasonable force and false arrest after slamming a man to the ground and jailing him for 12 hours on what turned out to be a baseless charge by Aquino. That case was settled out of court, reported Gothamist, for $5,000.
In a press conference, Dorceant and Allman, along with attorney Ken Womble, said that Aquino’s testimony was full of lies. According to Huffington Post, Aquino told the arraignment court that he was afraid he might have HIV after Dorceant bit him. She told reporters that she’s since taken an HIV test with negative results, and that the entire experience, which included a stay at Riker’s Island prison, has been a “nightmare” and something she “would never wish … on my worst enemy.”
The Daily Dot reached out to attorneys Ken Womble, Benjamin Moore, and Benjamin Zeman for more information on the case but did not immediately receive a response.
According to the Huffington Post, the civil-rights bureau of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office—the same office that is suing Dorceant for allegedly assaulting the officer—has opened a hate-crime investigation into the incident.
The NYPD’s internal affairs bureau is also investigating. In the meantime, a friend of the couple has created an online fundraiser to try and raise $8,000 needed for legal and bail costs.
On Thursday, Dorceant posted on her Facebook profile about the press conference.
“I am only one out of thousands of people that get attacked and falsely imprisoned by cops,” she wrote. “Today I spoke up for all those that unfortunately can’t speak for themselves and I don’t intend to stop! We all need to stand up and let these monsters know that this will no longer be accepted! Let’s all show them that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!”
The full criminal complaint against Dorceant is below:
Update 1:48pm CT, Dec. 1: Attorney Ben Zeman announced that a grand jury dismissed all charges against Dorceant and that attorneys now plan to sue the NYPD and the City of New York on behalf of both Dorceant and Allman.
Photo via Stephanie Dorceant/Facebook | Remix by Andrew Couts