From John Marzulli at the Daily News, this really uncomfortable story about a teacher, her colleague, a stolen cell phone, and a police sting.
If the cell phone were a gun, this would be an episode on Law and Order. Instead, it’s a bad thing for teacher Fermina Pena and since it just became a Notice of Claim, it’ll be a bad thing for the City and NYPD, i.e., us tax-paying citizens. The story, entitled (in the print version), iGot shaft in bad sting: Innocent teach busted, fired: $15M suit, begins:
A longtime Bronx preschool teacher — snared in an NYPD sting operation — lost her job after she literally got left holding the bag.
The trouble for Fermina Pena began in April when her co-worker, Sabina Deleon, met with undercover cops inside a McDonald’s on E. 204th St. in Norwood. Deleon, according to court papers, agreed to buy a “stolen” iPad mini for $100.
Pena, 43, was walking from a supermarket during her lunch break, returning to work at the Monsignor Boyle Little Angels Head Start program. She ran into Deleon, who had just exited the fast-food joint.
Deleon, 41, asked Pena to hold the gadget. Then Pena placed the iPad alongside some potato chips in her plastic grocery bag. The cops pounced on a group of teachers and demanded to see some identification. The women complied and were released.
They returned to work but several minutes later, the cops showed up at the school on Hull Ave. and demanded that Deleon and Pena come outside. Both women were handcuffed.
“It hurt me a lot that a little boy who was waiting for his dad saw me getting arrested,” Pena told the Daily News.
The case against Pena — rotten to begin with (or so I judge) — was dismissed because of “evidentiary issues…” But the dismissal took place a month after she was fired from her teaching position.
She’s married to a retired NYPD sergeant.
Her lawyer is Eric Sanders.