A Jersey City man has filed a civil rights lawsuit against several law enforcement agencies for detaining him at the Newark International Airport in an alleged case of mistaken identity while he was en route to the Dominican Republic, according to court documents.
Victor Gutierrez alleges law enforcement agents from the Newark Police Department, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested and detained him for two hours “under false belief that a warrant was outstanding” for his arrest on February 14th, 2015, states the lawsuit filed on Friday.
Authorities notified the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office and the Paterson Police Department of Gutierrez’s arrest for the alleged outstanding warrant. He was held at the Passaic County Jail for four and a half days from February 14 through 17th, 2015, according to his court complaint.
Gutierrez names all of the aforementioned law enforcement agencies in his lawsuit. None of the defendants have yet filed responses to his court complaint. His complaint states he was previously arrested on March 1st, 2014 by the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office in an alleged case of mistaken identity and detained for a day and half.
He appeared before court three times in connection with the 2014 case. Prosecutor’s confirmed his fingerprint did not match that of a man with identical name who was indicted in 2003, states his complaint.
The complaint does not provide other details of the indicted Victor Gutierrez.
Gutierrez was deemed the “wrong” person in that 2014 case, according to his court complaint. His attorney expressed concern the same error could recur in the future which prompted the court to give him documentation to provide to law enforcement in the event a similar situation were to occur, states the complaint.
Gutierrez, 43, states in the lawsuit he provided law enforcement agents official court documents, but officers “ignored the documentation” and arrested him. He was handcuffed and removed from the terminal in front of hundreds of bystanders as he was attempting to board a plane to fly to the Dominican Republic to visit his family, states the complaint.
The lawsuit says the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office admitted Gutierrez’s arrest and continued detention occurred “in error.”
Gutierrez’s lawsuit says he suffered physical, psychological, emotional distress as a result of the incident. He also suffered humiliation, embarrassment, discomfort, anxiety, and mental anguish as a result of the alleged error, states the complaint.
He is demanding compensatory damages, legal fees, and other relief from the court.
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