A woman from Manhattan’s Upper West Side was handcuffed and taken into police custody for merely taking her off-leash dogs to the park on August 4, 2021. Dora Marchand, 29, was walking her two Miniature American Shepherds, Comet and Sophie, without a leash in Riverside Park when a Parks Enforcement officer reprimanded her for flouting the off-leash rule in the park.
Marchand, a recent New York resident from San Francisco, said the first officer who approached her only gave her a warning but the officer’s partner was like, “No, we’re gonna have to write you up.” Marchand, when asked about her address, could not remember it since she just moved into the place recently.
Marchand only gave her name and birth date when the officers then decided to arrest her and bring her to the nearby precinct to check if she has any “warrants”. She suggested to the officers if they could walk over to her apartment which was nearby so she could prove her identity and address but they refused.
Officers’ Bad Joke
The incident was videotaped and it showed Marchand being handcuffed behind her back while the officers were deciding on what to do with the dogs since they could not be taken to the precinct.
At last, the officers decided to cage the two dogs but were having difficulty caging them. One of them gleefully joked that he would use an electric stick to shock them into compliance. Marchand said that he was excited about the rangers having something electric to shock the dogs. The officer was like “Oh yeah, they’re gonna get them. It’s gonna work and they’re gonna finish it.”
Marchand’s boyfriend later picked up the dogs in the park with their leashes and her identification but still, she was taken to the precinct.
NYC Parks press officer, Dan Kastanis, said she was not arrested for walking her dogs unleashed but was only taken to the precinct for identity verification. He added that it is the standard operating procedure to handcuff anyone when they are transporting a person in a shared vehicle for the safety and protection of their officers.
Once in the precinct, Marchand said she was treated like a criminal. She was stripped off her shoes and ordered to remove the strings from her pants while she was placed in the holding area for an hour.
Marchand claimed to have heard NYPD officers teasing the parks officers for bringing her in. The officers were laughing and “this is not fascist Germany, we don’t arrest people for like not having dogs on leash,” she recalled.
She was later released after two hours with a $100 fine for flouting park rules and a $200 fine for not complying with the officers. Marchand never thought she would be arrested for walking her dogs unleashed since she observed others doing the same in the park, and also felt that the incident was blown out of proportion.