Plaintiff Allison Scollar discusses her Scollar v. City of New York Case and police accountability.
Allison Scollar recently spoke about her case versus the City of New York for the first time. The case dates back roughly seven years and involves a child custody battle between Allison Scollar, the adoptive mother of the child, and Brook Altman, the birth mother. However, the case leads beyond Scollar and Altman to the rogue New York City Police Officer Regina DeBellis, who used her authority as a police officer to repeatedly harass Scollar and her child.
The plaintiff Allison Scollar stated that the police officer took numerous actions to help Brook Altman with her case, including forcefully entering the home of Scollar with her hand on her gun and without a warrant. Allison Scollar had no choice but to let this officer inside every time the officer harassed her. According to Allison Scollar, her first interaction with DeBellis was when DeBellis contacted her via cell phone in 2013. During this phone call, the officer stated that the plaintiff was a neglectful parent and that the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) had been called. Allison Scollar explained that the ACS determined the child was not at risk the very same day.
Allison Scollar explained that despite the determination of the ACS, DeBellis and two additional officers knocked on her door and stated they did not need a warrant to enter. Allison Scollar was forced to let them enter, and she was interrogated for nearly two hours. Scollar explained that the officer continued making false claims to the ACS and a family court judge following the incident. The officer, Regina DeBellis, is in a romantic relationship with the child’s birth mother, Brook Altman.
In Allison Scollar’s lawsuit, she claimed six violations DeBellis and the City of New York made. The plaintiff explained that Debellis would enter her apartment, with her gun, whenever she felt like entering. Allison Scollar was forced to live in fear, not knowing when an officer would arrive and unlawfully enter her home. On July 2, 2013, the judge issued an order that DeBellis could not enter Scollar’s house without the proper legal channels (a warrant). Debellis entered again, without a warrant, in July. This officer took it upon herself to ignore mandates, and her superiors simply looked the other way.
Scollar explained that the only thing she could do to stop the intrusions was to file a lawsuit against the City of New York. Allison Scollar explained that her numerous complaints to the precinct and other attempts to solve the issue without lawsuit were ignored. That’s why she added that her case was also about police accountability. At her deposition, the police officer in Scollar’s case claimed that she was actually promoted after the complaints were filed. Additionally, Ms. Debellis called the judge in her custody case to rant about the decision awarding Scollar custody. Not only was Debellis an irresponsible police officer, the police department as a whole did nothing to stop her horrific actions. It took more than seven years to fight this battle in the court system, because the police department continuously dragged its feet and showed no concern for Scollar’s case.
Finally, so many years later, the case has been settled with the City of New York acknowledging their wrong doing. Scollar stated that she can finally speak out about these events, after years of battling with the court system over this rogue officer. It was stated that the city failed to restrain DeBellis, even after the plaintiff, the child’s lawyer, the ACS, and the child’s therapist lodged numerous complaints. Allison Scollar hopes her case will serve as a precedent for others and that police officers will think twice before using their power to cause emotional distress on innocent families.
Allison Scollar explained that she’s not speaking out solely about her case. She’s speaking out against all officers who act wrongfully against anyone, including African Americans, homosexuals, the disenfranchised, and immigrants. Officers use their authority to commit wrongdoings every day, and their superiors simply look the other way. She explained that if she was not a white woman with the means to fight this battle for years, she would never have the closure she has today. The thousands of Americans who cannot fight these battles are oppressed by law enforcement officers and have no opportunity to defend themselves or find closure. Nobody holds police officers accountable in the United States, and because of that, police officers repeatedly abuse their power.
“The commissioner ignored the pleas of the ACS, the therapist, and lawyer for the child, and even the court’s order stating that this behavior needs to stop,” Allison Scollar said. “The police need to establish a program to protect against this behavior. Maybe holding them accountable immediately, not after dragging their heals in court. Its because of them that this case was delayed so long.”
Today, Allison Scollar has regained her power and is currently writing a book about her experiences.