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Monday, June 16, 2008

Mother of Officer Maselli's murder-suicide victim, Shirley Fontanez, is suing

Previous entry: [NYPD] Officer Maselli kills Shirley Fontanez and himself

Lawuit alleges NYPD gave nothing but heartbreak, harrassment
BY John Marzulli and Thomas Zambito
June 12th 2008
The mother of a teenager fatally shot by a Manhattan cop last year says she was repeatedly harassed after telling top cops that one of their own was dating her underage daughter, a lawsuit claims. Maria Espinoza says she warned 34th Precinct brass two years before officer Fred Maselli gunned down her 18-year-old daughter, Shirley Fontanez, before turning his 9-mm. off-duty weapon on himself in his Bronx apartment. Espinoza says that when she told a 34th Precinct sergeant that Maselli was beating her daughter, he dismissed her as a "f-----g immigrant." "She was told by officers at the 34th Precinct that they would do nothing because they do not get involved in personal relationships," the lawsuit claims. City attorneys said they are reviewing the complaint thoroughly but declined to comment on pending litigation. Espinoza says cops not only ignored her complaints, but ticketed her street vending business and propositioned her. Following a 2005 complaint, a precinct sergeant told Espinoza "that she herself looked young and sexy, and that he thought she would be good in bed, and he asked her to go out to dinner or a bar with him," according to the lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court. Nine tickets for disorderly conduct and operating an illegal street business were later dismissed, attorney Fred Lichtmacher says. "The minute the daughter is dead, she gets no more tickets," Lichtmacher said. Espinoza says the harassment reached a peak in the spring of 2006 when she was arrested and strip-searched in view of "other arrestees who made obscene comments and catcalls at seeing plaintiff's exposed breasts," the lawsuit says. Maselli, 40, shot Fontanez five times during the early morning hours of July 22. Her bloodsoaked body was found riddled with bullet wounds to her head and chest. Maselli had been assigned to the Washington Heights precinct in 2001. tzambito@nydailynews.com

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