Suburban NY police officer cleared of charges following 2013 arrest by fellow officers

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HEMPSTEAD, New York — A black policewoman who said she was a victim of racial bias in a dispute with two white officers was acquitted Wednesday of harassment and resisting arrest charges.

"A weight has been lifted off my shoulders," Dolores Sharpe said outside the courtroom after a one-week trial. "And I'm ready to move on with my life."

Sharpe, 53, had been off-duty and was shopping in West Hempstead in November 2013 when she was arrested. Prosecutors had alleged that Sharpe refused to show her police identification and then swung a broken chain at a fellow officer when she was stopped.

The 20-year Nassau County police veteran had received a 30-day unpaid suspension. A police spokesman declined to comment Wednesday, saying there is an ongoing internal investigation. Sharpe is currently on modified duty, working in the accident investigation bureau.

Her attorney, Frederick Brewington, said Sharpe was "treated in a fashion that many African-American women often receive by people in authority who think they can get away with it."

He said the police department should "take swift action" against the officers who arrested Sharpe and that they should be retrained.

The incident started when Sharpe pulled up behind a marked patrol car in a store parking lot and exchanged words with the uniformed officer, who she said was blocking a parking space. The officer said Sharpe cursed at him and refused to show her identification after saying she was a police officer.

"We respect the jury process and their verdict," said Shams Tarek, a spokesman for the district attorney's office. Police union President James Carver declined to comment and said the arresting officers also had nothing to say about the case.

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