A Nassau County police officer who claims she was wrongfully arrested by fellow officers in a racially biased incident pleaded not guilty to resisting arrest and harassment charges Thursday.
A district court judge in Hempstead released Dolores Sharpe, 52, of Jamaica, Queens, on her own recognizance after her plea, which came as supporters packed the courtroom.
The charges against the 19-year department veteran stem from a Nov. 29 incident in West Hempstead when she was off-duty. A Nassau police spokesman said he couldn't comment because of an ongoing internal affairs probe.
Sharpe's lawyer said she also pleaded not guilty Thursday in a separate location to a related traffic violation, in which police alleged she had an illegal tint on her vehicle windows.
Attorney Fred Brewington said that just before his client's 9:30 a.m. arraignment, Sharpe learned the violation was being handled elsewhere at 9 a.m.
"It was never presented, nor raised to Miss Sharpe," Brewington said.He said the violation was "the alleged reason for this stop." He said, "Had we not looked at these papers carefully, she would have missed another court date."
Sharpe is black and the two officers involved in her arrest -- Charles Volpe and Victor Gladitz -- are white. Brewington has said their verbal abuse was a display of "racial bias."
Court documents that became available Thursday contain details about the government's case against Sharpe, whose resume lists her as an Air Force veteran who also has worked protecting diplomats at the United Nations.
The government alleges Sharpe harassed police by taking a neck chain from her pocket and swinging it at Gladitz's face during a traffic stop.
Court records also allege Sharpe resisted arrest by refusing to put her hands behind her back, "flailing her arms and pulling away" from Gladitz and Volpe after she swung the chain at Volpe. They arrested her after a brief struggle, according to the government.
Brewington said Thursday that Sharpe served a 30-day unpaid suspension and is back on limited duty without her gun.
Sharpe declined to comment.
In December, her attorney described her side of the story in a press conference.
Brewington said his client had parked outside a store before Volpe drove up to her in a marked police car and berated her, telling her she blocked his view during an investigation.
Brewington said Sharpe told Volpe she was a cop and asked if she could help, but Volpe cursed at her and she went into the store. When she came outside, Volpe verbally abused her and told her to get out of her car, but she refused and told him to call a supervisor, he said.
Then Sharpe drove off, but Volpe pulled her over two blocks away, when she again refused to get out of her car and asked for a supervisor, the defense lawyer alleged.
Gladitz soon arrived, demanded Sharpe's ID and handcuffed her, according to Brewington, before a sergeant arrived at the scene and ordered that her handcuffs be removed.
Brewington had said his client was taken to the Fourth Precinct, where she was detained for three hours before her release on an appearance ticket.
The district attorney's office didn't comment on the case after Sharpe's arraignment Thursday.