Posted Feb 22, 2012 07:45 pm CST
A Manhattan jury awarded $1.2 million to a former Playboy Playmate yesterday—nearly $400,000 more than her lawyer had sought—in an excessive-force lawsuit she brought against the New York police department after a 2006 dispute with a cabdriver.
Stephanie Adams, 41, initially called police to complain about the driver, who then retaliated, she said, by falsely claiming she had threatened him with a gun.
Although responding officers should have been able to see that no weapon was concealed in her skimpy, skintight outfit, they used excessive force in dropping her to the street, causing her permanent neck and back injuries, Adams contended in a lawsuit. She also said she was traumatized by having police guns drawn on her, according to the New York Daily News and the New York Post.
The city argued, to no avail, that Adams was used to firearms, citing self-published photos on the Internet showing the plaintiff wearing police gear and holding a handgun. Adams was featured in Playboy magazine as Miss November 1992.
“I put myself—I put my daughter—in her shoes and wondered if this could not have been handled more judiciously,” an unidentified middle-aged woman who sat on the jury told the Daily News. “He not only threw her to the ground, he was holding her there, even though he could see she was not armed. It felt like it was too much.”
A law department spokeswoman says the city still believes the officers acted appropriately and is now considering its options.
The cabbie, Eric Darko, defaulted in the case. He also lost his license to drive a taxi after describing Adams to investigators as a werewolf who threatened him with her “vampire teeth,” the Post reports.