Teacher who threatened to pull a ‘Columbine’ sues NYPD
First, she threatened to pull a “Columbine” on her own school. Now, a former Brooklyn high-school teacher is suing the NYPD for $6 million for arresting her over the “terroristic threat” — a charge that was later dropped.
“If I had a trench coat and a shotgun, it’d be Columbine all over again,” a seething Sabrina Milo, 35, blurted out in a Fort Hamilton HS teacher’s lounge in March 2011 after a run-in with administrators, according to her Brooklyn federal court suit. She insists she was just kidding.
Milo — who received an award for classroom excellence in 2007 — was angry that her bosses had sided with a student in a classroom confrontation and began venting to colleagues, according to the suit.
“Plaintiff used this figure of speech as a way to express how irritated she was,” the suit states. “Plaintiff was not being literal or serious and had no history of making threats or behaving violently.”
But word of her Columbine comment spread, and Milo was arrested at the school several days after the outburst on the terror-threat charge, according to her lawsuit.
“Why are you being such a crybaby? You’re a terrorist,” an arresting officer told Milo as she was hauled off the school grounds, the lawsuit claims.
“When plaintiff was brought into Central Booking, other prisoners taunted plaintiff and screamed ‘terrorist!’ while they clanked on metal cell bars,” according to her suit.
Milo was so distraught after a judge set her bail at $100,000 and dispatched her to Rikers Island that she was placed on suicide watch, court papers claim.
She made bail four days after her arrest, and the charges against her were dropped when a grand jury refused to hand up an indictment on the “terroristic threat” charge.
“They arrested an art instructor who teaches children for terrorism for venting to colleagues in a teacher’s lounge,” said Milo’ s attorney, Daniel Neveloff. “They had no probable cause to arrest her — they acted too quickly and recklessly.”
Her career and reputation in ruins, Milo is now seeking to nail the NYPD and arresting Officer Greg Evert for $6 million over various civil-rights violations stemming from the arrest.
Neveloff said that his client was coerced into giving up her teaching license after the incident and that she remains unemployed.
“It’s been a very difficult road for her,” he said. “It’s not easy when your name is Googled and these stories come up. Imagine getting arrested whenever you say something like ‘I’m going to kill my kids’ or ‘I want to strangle my husband.’ ”
The NYPD did not immediately return a call for comment.