Youth leader claims false arrest at JazzFest

Michelle Massey Apr. 9, 2010, 5:45am

Pathfinder Club counselor Nicole Carryl claims she was subjected to an illegal arrest by use of unreasonable and excessive force and denied substantive due process during an incident last year near the fairgrounds of the New Orleans JazzFest.

She filed suit on April 6 in the New Orleans federal court of the Eastern District of Louisiana.

Her lawsuit names the City of New Orleans, Police Chief Warren J. Riley, Lt. Chris Cambiotti, and the insurers for the city and police departments.

Carryl claims she was soliciting donations near JazzFest on May 3, 2009. According to her complaint, she had a JazzFest ticket in a raised hand while talking with a fellow counselor when a plain clothed white male, later identified as Cambiotti, called out to Carryl asking what she had.

Carryl claims she walked away from Cambiotti and toward a group of uniformed police officers. Cambiotti then grabbed her from behind and continued to yell at her, the suit claims.

She claims she screamed for help and attempted to pull away from the police officer's grip. Cambiotti responded by throwing her against a vehicle, the suit claims.

She claims she did not realize what was going on until Cambiotti told another officer to charge her with obstructing an officer/resisting arrest and ticket scalping.

Carryl believes Cambiotti's actions were "willful, malicious, wanton and reckless disregard for [her] civil rights."

Causes of action filed against the defendants include negligence, gross negligence, intent, arrest, battery, and assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress and unreasonable search and seizure.

Carryl is asking the court to award more than $75,000 in damages for mental anguish, emotional distress, punitive damages and attorney fees.

She is represented by LaPlace attorney Nghana Lewis Gauff.

U.S. District Judge Jay C. Zainey is assigned to the case.

Case No 2:10cv01055

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