A Manhattan cop has been charged with lying about an Upper Manhattan arrest and bogusly claiming he was threatened by a 20-year-old woman — statements that were clearly at odds with surveillance footage, prosecutors said Tuesday.
Jonathan Munoz, 32, who has been an NYPD officer since 2006, pleaded not guilty to offering a false instrument for filing, official misconduct and making a punishable false written statement at his arraignment in Manhattan Supreme Court.
Munoz collared a 21-year-old man around W. 183rd St. and St. Nicholas Ave. on March 12, 2014, telling prosecutors and his bosses the man was interfering with his arrest of the woman, prosecutors said.
He said he suspected the woman “of purchasing marijuana” and that the man was in a “fighting stance” before throwing a punch at him, according to court documents.
“Surveillance video subsequently obtained form the arrest location revealed that not only had the man not engaged in the actions attributed to him by Munoz, but that Munoz had unlawfully searched the woman as she stood on the sidewalk,” prosecutors wrote in court papers.
Charges against the man, identified in court papers as Jason Disisto, were dismissed because of the cop’s fabricated story, the DA said.
Officer Jonathan Munoz, 32, of Suffern, New York, was released on his own recognizance. He wore a suit and yarmulke in court, and declined comment afterwards.
His lawyer, Stephen Worth, said it was a “routine arrest” and that “Officer Munoz acted properly.”
He faces up to four years behind bars on the top count.
“Had this officer’s attempts to conceal his alleged misconduct succeeded, an innocent man may still be facing charges for a fabricated crime,” DA Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement.
“Illegal searches and unlawful arrests go against the years of training each NYPD officer receives, erode the public’s confidence in law enforcement, and will be prosecuted by my Office’s Public Corruption Unit,” the DA added.
Disisto, who was jailed for 24 hours before being released on $1,500 bail after the false arrest, is suing the city over the incident.
“Mr. Disisto is very pleased that the district attorney’s office took the matter so seriously and pleased that the grand jury voted for indictment,” said his lawyer, David Rankin.