BRONX, N.Y. - Linda Dominguez was taking a shortcut through a Bronx park with other people one night last April when three police officers stopped her and asked for ID.
When she could not produce any she was charged with being in the park after hours.
"Immediately upon being arrested in the park, I felt fear," Dominguez said.
"She is a Latina transgender woman who is crossing the park at night in the Bronx I think that’s pretty clear that that is why she was picked up," said Gabriel Arkles, Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU.
Dominguez says at the 44th precinct she gave an officer her male birth name and the name she legally changed it to, to align with her gender identity. She says that's when officers began making fun of her.
"I listened when the other people were detained, and they asked is that a man or a woman, and they laughed and laughed," Dominguez said.
The officers put her in handcuffs that were pink and added a second charge: False personation - intentionally providing police with misleading information about your identity.
The charges were dropped in August but on Tuesday the New York Civil Liberties Union sued the city and individual police officers alleging discrimination and harassment.
"The profiling and harassment of trans women of color it is part of a broader pattern of government not really allowing trans people to exist in public space in a variety of ways," Arkles said. "In addition to being charged with a crime, false personation, for simply existing as a trans person they use the wrong pronouns, they used the wrong name, they repeatedly mocked her and they kept her handcuffed in pink handcuffs in a holding cell overnight."
A police spokeswoman says, "the NYPD will continue to communicate and collaborate with the LGBTQ community as we seek to further strengthen our relationship with all of the communities throughout the city that we protect and serve."
The NYPD has written policies about how officers are to interact with people who are transgender. Dominguez's attorneys says the policies are good but they have to be more consistently put into practice.