Oliver Wiggins—a 33-year-old Black man who was wrongfully arrested on a DWI charge despite being sober—is being paid what he’s owed.
Let us take you back.
On April 19, 2015, Wiggins was minding his business at Glenwood Road and E. 43rd St. in East Flatbush, N.Y. when a police officer reportedly “ran a marked SUV through a stop sign” and crashed into Wiggins’ ’04 Nissan Maxima. Feeling like the dumbass he was, the arresting officer attempted to cover up his near-fatal blunder by claiming Wiggins was driving while intoxicated.
And man, did that arresting officer really play it up. According to Justin Joseph, Wiggins was a swaying, odorous mess of slurred speech and watery eyes on the scene. A negative drug and alcohol test done at the hospital—along with the Breathalyzer test Wiggins took on the scene (it showed no alcohol in his blood)—was the saving grace that moved prosecutors to dismiss the charges three months later.
Fast forward to 2018, and Wiggins now sits on a throne of $1 million in reparations after filing a lawsuit against the city. But it took being arrested and charged with impaired driving, having his license suspended, and being smacked with a repair bill for his car that he would have had to pay out of pocket since his insurance company refused to cover it—because, you know, DWI charges.
The better news in all this: Wiggins now has his eyes set on becoming a corrections officer to enforce the law the just way.
“This situation really made him understand the power of the badge and that police have to be honest because that’s how an innocent man can face frivolously [sic] charges,” said Wiggins’ lawyer, Scott Rynecki.
Oh, and about the trial. City officials ultimately decided to forgo it, but Wiggins wasn’t about to let the case go that easily. In July 2015, he sent a letter to then-district attorney Kenneth Thompson requesting that the officers involved be investigated for their misconduct.
They clearly picked the wrong one.