The attorney of Krittika Biswas (18), daughter of New York City-based Indian diplomat Debashish Biswas, has said that a police officer slapped handcuffs on the teenager at her school after she refused to admit to sending abusive emails to a teacher, and in doing so had used the cuffs as “torture device.”
Ravi Batra, who is representing Ms. Biswas in a $1.5 million-lawsuit against top officials of NYC, including members of the New York Police Department and education officers at John Bowne High School said to The Hindu that the distraught student was handcuffed “very tight” as “punishment for not having confessed” to the alleged crime, rather than a means of restraint for personal security.
After being marched through the school premises in plain view of other students and staff while in handcuffs, Ms. Biswas was held overnight in detention at the 107th Precinct and then at Central Booking, Mr. Batra explained.
Ultimately she was cleared of all wrongdoing, and another individual, who has reportedly not yet been arrested or faced charges, was held responsible for sending the abusive emails. In bringing a case against City officials Ms. Biswas has alleged that “defendants conspired to injure and damage Krittika Plaintiff because of defendants’ race-based animus, including against persons of Southeast Asian Indian descent.”
Elaborating further on her harsh treatment by police officers at the school Mr. Batra had strong words in particular for police officer Larry Granshaw, the officer who had used the handcuffs on Ms. Biswas. Describing Mr. Granshaw’s actions as “completely un-American” Mr. Batra said that Mr. Granshaw responded to Ms. Biswas’ complaint that the handcuffs were “painful” suggesting that if she moved then it would hurt even more.
Apart from the pain and humiliation that Ms. Biswas was said to have faced at the school she was also treated poorly at Central Booking and at the 107th Precinct, Mr. Batra suggested.
At Central Booking she was told to use a dirty blanket, one that an officer stamped on before her eyes, to shelter from the cold. She was for the most part denied access to a toilet, or told to use a toilet stall in which she would be in direct view of others in the facility. Her only permitted source of drinking water was a fountain that was covered with vomit and unusable, Mr. Batra explained.
Despite the erstwhile Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Meera Shankar noting that the Embassy “woke up people in the State Department,” Ms. Biswas was detained along with criminals overnight on February 8 2011.
Ms. Biswas’ plight over those difficult 24 hours was partly the result of actions by “the arrogant principal, Howard Kwait, and the teacher Jamie Kim-Ross, who played fast and loose with the truth when she filed charges against the India-born student,” Ms. Biswas’ lawsuit notes.
In particular Mr. Batra said that Ms. Kim-Ross had played a role in not revealing to law enforcement officials certain communications between herself and Ms. Biswas regarding the latter’s request for a recommendation letter on the basis of her solid academic performance and overall standing at the school.
While Ms. Kim-Ross may have been willing to provide Ms. Biswas with the referral earlier, in January she was said to have refused to write the letter and subsequently kept this exchange away from the arresting officers or others involved.
In Ms. Biswas’ 118-page lawsuit, with five exhibits, 10 federal counts and 16 New York counts, Mr. Batra further noted that the sought a “fair and reasonable amount of not less than $500,000 in compensatory and $1 million in punitive damages, in addition to other relief.”