All charges against Derrick Harris were dropped in 2020.
Music producer Derrick Harris has filed a lawsuit against New York City and the New York Police Department alleging he was wrongfully accused of sexual assault and imprisoned for four years on Rikers Island.
Harris was acquitted of some of the charges in 2015 and cleared of all charges in 2020, according to the lawsuit.
The city played a role in the arrest of Derrick Harris on “a false accusation of rape, leading to his wrongful incarceration for four years,” civil rights attorney Ben Crump said at a press conference Thursday.
Harris was “wrongly and wrongly accused based on lies by the police,” he said.
Crump said evidence was fabricated against Harris to keep him imprisoned on Rikers Island for four years after his arrest and before his trial. Harris was injured while imprisoned, including a fractured skull, he said.
The suits also list as defendants the police officers who arrested Harris, former New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and Carolina Holderness, the former deputy chief of the Special Victims Office at the district attorney’s office.
The NYPD declined to comment because they said they weren’t served with the lawsuit.
Representatives for New York City, Vance Jr. and Holderness did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for comment. Information about the officers’ attorney was not immediately available.
According to the lawsuit, Harris was beaten and arrested at his home by NYPD officers on September 12, 2011, after an incident in which an acquaintance shouted for help from the balcony of his apartment, alleging he had sexually assaulted. The woman left, but hours later officers entered his home without a warrant, according to the lawsuit.
Harris was punched, pushed and tackled to the ground by the officers, according to the lawsuit. He was handcuffed with no explanation or attempt to de-escalate, he alleges in the lawsuit.
After his arrest, the lawsuit says officers tampered with witness statements and evidence at the scene to obtain a search warrant at his home. He also claims that the alleged victim’s rape kit and other physical evidence were mishandled and that Harris had to have the evidence tested which showed her DNA was not present and proved her innocence.
“And then he found out how easy it was for the system to swallow a black man and just tried it,” Crump said.
Prior to the incident, Harris was a freelance music producer with clients including Wu-Tang Clan, Alicia Keys and Busta Rhymes. He had no prior convictions or jail time, according to the lawsuit.
“I feel like if I wasn’t a black man, then the fact that they had evidence to prove my innocence within months of my arrest, I wouldn’t have had to stay on Rikers Island for longer. four years, just like they did to Kalief Browder,” Harris said at the press conference, referring to the teenager who was imprisoned on Rikers Island for three years without trial.
“They’re holding you on Rikers Island, without any cases, in an effort to try to get you to plead guilty. And it’s wrong. It needs to stop,” Harris said.