A New York City resident was handcuffed and taken into police custody after she could not provide identification after being stopped for walking her dogs without a leash in a park.
Park enforcement officers stopped Dora Marchand, 29, an Upper West Side resident, on August 4 as she walked her dogs off-leash on a soccer field in Riverside Park, which violates park rules. She was handcuffed and taken to a local precinct after she could not provide identification, which she left at home.
Marchand had only moved to New York from San Francisco the week prior and could not remember her address upon being asked. Officers refused her request to walk to her apartment to prove her residence and retrieve her identification.
“When she could not produce identification or a verifiable address, she was taken to the local precinct where her identification was verified. She was not arrested for walking her dogs without leashes,” NYC Parks press officer Dan Kastanis said.
Marchand was about to leave the park before she was stopped by one officer who reprimanded her for walking her dogs without a leash and intended to let her off with a warning. A second officer then came over and said they would need to write her up, Marchand told the New York Post.
“I said I was sorry and that I was about to go home. I said I didn’t mean to cause any harm,” Marchand told West Side Rag.
She gave her name and birth date to the officer but was unable to provide identification or her address, prompting the officer to handcuff her and bring her to the precinct.
“For the safety and protection of our officers, handcuffs are standard when we are transporting anyone to the precinct in a shared vehicle,” Kastanis said.
Marchand called her boyfriend with the help of a passerby, who came to the park with dog leashes and Marchand’s identification, but the officers still forced her to go to the precinct, according to the New York Post.
Throughout the confrontation, which was captured on video, Marchand’s dogs stood nearby while an officer tried to lead them into a wire dog cage. Marchand told West Side Rag she was held in handcuffs for nearly two hours while officers tried to figure out what to do with her dogs, since they couldn’t be taken to the precinct. Her boyfriend picked up her dogs from the park.
Marchand regularly walked her dogs without a leash when she lived in San Francisco, according to West Side Rag. She was aware of Riverside Park’s rules requiring dogs to be leashed but had seen unleashed dogs in the area anyway.
“I knew my dogs weren’t supposed to be off-leash but I didn’t think I would be arrested for it,” Marchand told West Side Rag.
Marchand spent an hour in the holding cell while officers verified her identity. She told the New York Post she was treated like a “real” criminal at the precinct, claiming she was told to remove her shoes and the strings from her pants while in the holding cell.
She also told the New York Post that NYPD officers teased the park officers for bringing Marchand in.
“They were kind of all laughing like, ‘This is not fascist Germany, we don’t arrest people for like not having dogs on the leash,’” she said.
Marchand felt the situation was blown out of proportion, telling the West Side Rag that she did not understand why officers put so much time into the incident “when there are literally murders and theft happening all the time in New York.”
Marchand was released with a $100 fine for walking her dogs without a leash and a $200 fine for not complying with officers.