NYC businessman jailed twice on dismissed tickets


An Inwood restaurant owner is caught in a Kafkaesque nightmare — he’s afraid to leave his house because cops keep arresting him on 26 warrants tied to minor summonses that were already dismissed by a judge.

For some reason the summonses and warrants remain in the NYPD’s system. 

In April 2022, Wendy de Jesus Hernandez was arrested after a minor three-vehicle accident in the Bronx.

“They said ‘We gotta take you in,” Hernandez, 44, recalled. “Get out of the car. Put your hands behind your back.’” 

The cops ran his license and discovered warrants were issued because of summonses written to his restaurant, Papasito in Inwood, in November 2019 for minor infractions like “business certificate not posted” and “failure to attend annual training,” records show.

Hernandez spent a night in the Tombs, the infamous jail in Lower Manhattan. In court the next morning, the judge ordered cops to let him go.

Wendy de Jesus Hernandez said he keeps getting arrested and then released because he took care of his restaurant summonses in court.
J.C. Rice

“They said, ‘Take off the cuffs,’” Hernandez recalled. “‘You have no case here. The summonses have been dropped by another judge.’”

The restaurant citations had been dismissed by a judge when attorney Kathleen Negri Stathopoulos went to court a short time after they were issued, she said.

While dismissals of such tickets are common, she said, everything that later happened to Hernandez was far from usual.

He travels with paperwork that shows the summonses have been closed in case he gets pulled over again.
J.C. Rice

“I’ve never seen this happen before . . . never ever,” she said. “But somewhere there’s some kind of gap.” 

The day after his arrest, Hernandez went back to the 45th Precinct to get his car.

He told a cop there what happened, and the officer said the warrants still showed on his computer screen.

“‘If I pull you over again, you’re gonna get arrested again,’” the cop said.

Hernandez contacted his personal attorney, who went to court and assured him that all the warrants were vacated.

Wendy de Jesus Hernandez has been pulled over three times and arrested twice for cleared summonses, he said.
J.C. Rice

On Sept. 4 he was pulled over riding his motorcycle in Washington Heights while playing loud music, he said.

The officers ran his license.

They ordered him off the bike and took him to the 34th Precinct stationhouse.

“I tried to explain to them and show them that everything is dismissed, that this is a mistake,” he said.

He spent the night in the precinct’s holding cell.

When he finally got to Manhattan criminal court, he was forced to sit on a bench in a hallway for hours with his hands cuffed behind his back.

In the courtroom, a court officer remembered him and laughed, he said.

You should sue the NYPD,” the officer told him after a judge cleared him again.

A month later, on Oct. 7, Hernandez was double-parked in Queens when a police officer demanded his license.

“Here we go again,” Hernandez thought.

The cop ordered him off his bike as he tried to explain his saga and showed the cop his paperwork.

“I think he feels sorry for me and he says, ‘You know what? I’m gonna take a chance and give you a chance that could cost me my job,’” Hernandez said.

The cop told him to go home and stay there until he could sort out his problem.

He’s still trying to figure out what to do.

“I’m sitting home right now when I’m supposed to be at work,” said Hernandez, who also owns a construction business. “I don’t want to get arrested every week.”

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