PUBLISHED: 10:49 EST, 4 September 2012 | UPDATED: 16:18 EST, 4 September 2012
- Rashad Lewis, 26, was arrested for credit card fraud on August 3
- Police officers impounded his vehicle, a $150k Mercedes, and allegedly took it out for a spin
- A week later, Lewis was mailed a ticket for running a red light – while he was in jail
- NYPD says there was no joy ride, they were just transporting the vehicle to a more secure lot.
- They’ve since dropped the summons, but the fraud charges remain
Rashad Lewis, 26, was rotting in jail while his $150,000 Mercedes was flying around New York City, running red lights and raking up tickets – and he wants to know how it happened.
Lewis claims that an NYPD officer took his wheels for a joy ride instead of straight to the impound lot, causing damage to the car’s windows and he wants them to pay the price.
The NYPD, however, says there was no foul play – they were simply driving the car to a more secure impound lot across town for the safety of the vehicle.
Ride: Rashad Lewis, 26, was rotting in jail while his $150,000 Mercedes was flying around New York City, running red lights and raking up tickets – and he wants to know how it happened
‘My back window was broken, my driver’s-side door was keyed, and my bumper was scratched up,’ the Queens college student said to the New York Post.
‘They were driving my car with the windows down and having a ball joy riding my vehicle.’
Lewis was arrested with a friend, Gregg Humpherys, 22, while the two were driving past Bloomingdales on August 3.
Police stopped Lewis after he allegedly blew through two red lights. They collared him after they found several forged credit cards in his possession, stashed in the center console and scattered across the floor of the car, according to the complaint against him.
Both men were arrested and charged with 13 counts of possession of a forged instrument. He was released after he posted $3,500 bail.
‘My car was seized,’ Lewis said. ‘I went through the whole process. I was at the precinct for 12 or 13 hours. I posted bail and was released the next week.’
A week or so later, he received a shock in the mail: a traffic ticket, complete with a photograph of his car blazing through a red light while he was in jail.
Defense: The NYPD says there was no foul play – they were simply driving the car to a more secure impound lot across town for the safety of the vehicle. Lewis’s vehicle running a red light is pictured at left and Lewis at right
‘My first reaction was, “Are you guys serious?” I had a whole bunch of emotions running through my mind,’ he told the Post. ‘I felt violated. I don’t know if they could have committed a crime in my vehicle.’
He wants to know who the alleged joy rider was and what happened to his car.
‘We’d like to see is who is driving the car, how they got the car, where they were going with the car and whether the police department condones this action,’ Lewis’s attorney, Marvyn Kornberg, told the Mail Online.
He said his client will absolutely fight the ticket and possibly seek compensation from the NYPD for the alleged damages to the car.
But Paul Browne, the NYPD’s spokesperson, said that Lewis didn’t have a problem with the condition of his vehicle when he picked it up from the Springfield Gardens Auto Pound in Queens.
‘There was no joy ride, and the driver’s claims of damage came after the fact,’ Mr Browne told the MailOnline.
Jail: Lewis claims that an NYPD officer or employee took his wheels for a joy ride while he was in the Manhattan Detention Complex, pictured, speeding across the city’s streets and he wants them to pay the price
Arrested: Lewis was arrested with a friend, Gregg Humpherys, 22, while the two were driving past Bloomingdales at the intersection of Lexington Ave and 59th Street, pictured, on August 3
He said the car was vouchered in the 19th precinct and taken to a secure lot in the 26 precinct in Harlem due to the value of the automobile.
The next day, it was driven to the Springfield Gardens, Queens pound, as per the police’s normal practice.
‘While enroute, the auto received a red light camera summons,’ Mr Browne said. ‘Officers used the West Side Hwy to the Battery Tunnel heading to the pound.’
The ticket was received on 12th avenue going downtown near 34th Street, which seems to match the official statement.
Furthermore, the NYPD plans to drop the ticket, though they have declined to reveal the identity of the driver.
Story: Paul Browne, the NYPD’s spokesperson, said that Lewis didn’t have a problem with the condition of his vehicle when he picked it up from the Springfield Gardens Auto Pound in Queens.
The District Attorney has not dropped Lewis’s charges on fraud. He’s due in court on October 18.
Lewis says he’s so shaken by the incident, he doesn’t even want to drive his car.
‘I just want to get rid of my vehicle,’ he said. ‘I’m scared to drive around in that car. I don’t know if they put a bug or something in it.’
Sargeant Lai, who has been working at the impound lot for the past five years said he’s never heard of an incident anything like this.
‘I know there’s some sort of investigation going on right now,’ he told the MailOnline. He did not specify if the person who was driving the vehicle might face punishment, though Mr Browne insists there was ‘no wrong doing’.
Mr Kornberg said that dropping the ticket isn’t good enough.
‘It doesn’t change a thing. What about what happened to the car?’ he told the Mail Online. ‘The police are obviously trying to whitewash whats going on here.’