Jayendra Baldevbhai, an Indian-American store manager from Flushing, New York, says he is proud of suing the New York City Police Department for wrongful arrest and that it is not about the money. Jayendra Baldevbhai, was arrested May 20 last year for allegedly selling name-brand Burberry umbrellas. The charges were dropped after 3 hearings, but the store manager felt wronged and got an attorney, Samuel Cohen, a civil rights lawyer, to take up his case, which was filed March 7 in the Southern District Court in New York.
When he was arrested that day before his surprised customers, and taken to the Fifth Precinct, he was fearful, The Daily News reported. He was charged with third-degree trademark counterfeiting, and though the charges were dropped, Baldevbhai was evidently deeply affected by what he saw as an injustice. “That’s why I am suing the NYPD. I am feeling really proud of myself for it,” he said. “It’s not about the money. It’s the wrongful arrest – innocent people being arrested for nothing.”
Baldevbhai told the media that he could not reveal the amount of money he was demanding as compensation on the advice of his attorney. According to the lawsuit, NYPD plainclothes officers walked into his store and spent half an hour examining the goods, specially the umbrellas being sold at his store, the New York Daily News reported. Even though the umbrellas were clearly marked with another name Baldevbhai was handcuffed and taken away on grounds he was selling fake Burberry umbrellas.
Pictures of the umbrella show it is a combination of blue, white, and red plaid, very different from the classic Burberry colors that are dark brown, light brown combination of Tartan plaid. The blue and white umbrellas were clearly marked ‘Conch Umbrellas America Corp’ the lawsuit claims. Despite that, an officer asked Baldevbhai to quote a price on it and arrested him when he replied.
“I said ‘$7.99,’” Baldevbhai told New York Daily News, “He said, ‘You’re under arrest.’” Despite repeatedly telling the cops that these were Conch umbrellas with a prominent label declaring that, the officers “just basically ignored all my answers,” Baldevbhai is quoted saying.
The lawsuit also alleges that the NYPD officers had no warrant but did have an affidavit from a Burberry representative stating that the company held a trademark for a particular Tartan plaid, but did not specially identify the umbrellas at Spring Mart, the news report said.
Born and brought up in Gujarat, Baldevbhai is married with three children ages 13, 12, and 10, he said. He came to the U.S. 20 years ago. His lawyer, Samuel Cohen told New York Daily News the lawsuit was meant to prevent similar incidents in the future. Cohen is a civil rights attorney and works on cases involving excessive force and false arrest litigations, also representing and counseling individuals and small businesses in various matters. He could not be reached by press time. The New York City Law Department told the New York Daily News no comments were available until Baldevbhai’s allegations were reviewed.