In a win for knife owners, New York City has settled with electrician Bernard Perez, agreeing to pay him $57,500 for falsely arresting him for carrying a gravity knife. As we have covered here extensively, even Big Apple attorneys are starting to realize that their interpretations of state gravity knife laws are bullshit. The knife in question for Mr. Perez seems to be a Spyderco Delica knock-off, and it is the locking blade that probably got him into trouble with Johnny Law. Check this out.
From the New York Daily News: NYC pays $57G to plumber after cop wrongfully arrested him for utility knife
Bernard Perez has a $57,500 settlement from the city to support his argument that he was carrying a utility knife to strip insulation off wiring — not an illegal gravity knife as Officer Justin Delmonico had claimed.
Perez, 48, spent two days in jail and then three follow-up trips to court culminating in a fateful meeting in an assistant district attorney’s office, where Delmonico was asked repeatedly to demonstrate how the knife blade flicked open — and couldn’t.
After Delmonico’s demonstration gone wrong, the prosecutor told the judge they were sticking a fork in the criminal case.
“We are satisfied that the knife is not in fact a gravity knife,” the prosecutor said, and moved to dismiss the charge against Perez, according to papers filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.
But the prosecutor’s concession was not good enough for city lawyer Jenny Weng, who was fighting Perez’s lawsuit.
“She argued that the cop believed it was a gravity knife at the time he seized it, but it was no longer functioning as a gravity knife at the time of the demonstration in the DA’s office four months later,” Berger said.
The city relented, signing off on the $57,500 deal on Aug. 21.
Good on the city attorney for fighting the charges. At least she didn’t recommend Perez plead guilty, as we have seen in other NYC cases that were eventually settled. Nothing on the ground has changed yet, but cases like these are bound to increase pressure on New York politicians to fix the fiasco that are New York City knife laws. Congratulations to Mr. Perez!