The New York Police Department got an order kicking a family of four out of their Queens apartment by telling a judge it was a drug den, but the dealers had moved out seven months earlier.
A lawsuit to be filed in Brooklyn Federal Court on Tuesday details an egregious case of the NYPD’s use of the nuisance abatement law — a controversial tool in which cops are able to get a temporary order barring people from their homes without first giving them the opportunity to appear before a judge.
The bungled operation left Austria Bueno, 32, a housekeeper, crashing at a hotel and on a relative’s floor, beside her two sons and husband, for four nights, as they waited for their first court date.
“Everybody cried. Me, I was crying like a baby,” said Bueno. “I don’t deserve that. My kids don’t deserve that either.”
Her lawsuit, which cites the Daily News and ProPublica’s ongoing investigation into the NYPD’s misuse of the nuisance abatement law, seeks to have the legislation and its provision for secret lockout orders declared unconstitutional.
A new analysis by the Daily News has also found the number of cases filed by the NYPD has dropped substantially since the first investigation was published in February.
Bueno’s ordeal began before she even got to the Queensbridge Houses in Long Island City. Police say a confidential informant purchased crack at her future apartment twice in January 2015. A subsequent search turned up crack, weapons and $21,500.