Former playmate sues NYPD, taxi driver
By TOM HAYS
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK- A woman who bills herself as the first openly lesbian Playboy Playmate sued a taxi driver, police and the city on Friday, claiming that officers needlessly roughed her up based on the cabbie's false accusation that she was armed and dangerous.
"It was a nightmare," Stephanie Adams, 35, said at a news conference announcing the suit, which seeks unspecified damages.
The city had no immediate response. The cab driver, 40-year-old Eric Darko, denied any wrongdoing.
"She thinks she's got a case, but I didn't do nothing," Darko said when reached by telephone.
The suit stems from a May 25 incident that began when Adams - Miss November 1992 - caught Darko's cab on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to take to her Chelsea apartment. After the pair argued over where to drop her off, she alleges he cursed her out, called 911 and made the false report that she had a gun.
Adams said she made her own 911 call after Darko pushed a rear car door into her as she tried to get out.
A few moments later, plainclothes police officers surrounded Adams on the street with guns drawn, grabbed her purse and pushed her to the ground, she said. When they searched her bag and realized she was unarmed, they let her go without an apology.
"It was not necessary for them to throw her down to the ground," said Adams' attorney, Sanford Rubenstein.
The complaint filed in state Supreme Court in Manhattan accuses the police officer of assault, and claims Adams "suffered great pain, distress, mental shock, mental anguish and psychological trauma."
Adams also complained to the city Taxi & Limousine Commission, which has suspended Darko's taxi license. A TLC investigator reported that the driver told him he called 911 after she flashed her "vampire teeth" and threatened to shoot him.
Darko denied making the vampire remark. He accused Adams of causing the ruckus by refusing to pay him a $9 fare, then warning him she had a gun.
"I didn't start anything with her," he said.