An Instagram influencer with over 862,000 followers is suing the NYPD for $30 million for using her image on a “wanted” poster, reports the New York Post.
On Aug. 16, Eva Lopez first discovered that her image was on the poster while traveling on a flight from Florida after a friend alerted her with a text,
“I thought it was something fake,” she recalled. “I really couldn’t believe the police would put me on a wanted poster.”
Lopez thought nothing of it until her boss asked her to reach out to the East Village’s 9th Precinct just in case it was real.
Eventually, Lopez got in contact with Detective Kevin Dwyer, whose name was listed on the flyer, who told her that he “knew it was an issue before she called.”
Dwyer told Lopez that the wanted poster had already been removed from the department’s Facebook page and other websites, she said. According to the report, the real suspect had a tattoo sleeve and Lopez doesn’t.
“It was already spread around on social media,” she said. “It was still being passed around, still being talked about, still making me look like a thief and a prostitute.”
The information on the poster stated that on Aug. 3 a man had booked an escort online,” only to have the escort steal a $13,000 Rolex and Chase credit card of his roommate."
Lopez said she was in Queens on the date of the incident and the photograph on the poster was taken a month or two earlier.
“On Facebook, the [wanted poster] got shared over thousands of times — 10,000, 20,000 times,” she said. “Then on Instagram a lot of blog sites that have millions of followers, they posted it as well.”
Throughout the ordeal, Lopez has maintained her innocence but her reputation has suffered as a result of the NYPD’s error.
“People didn’t think I was being honest,” she recalled. “It was just really, really embarrassing, not only for me but for my family as well.”
“I just really want people to know that’s not me, in any way, shape, or form. The girl has nothing to do with me,” she continued.
According to court papers, she claimed she “had absolutely nothing to do with any grand larceny,”
Mark Shirian, Lopez’s attorney, criticized the NYPD’s handling ing of the case,
“The NYPD should commit to more thorough investigations before haphazardly accusing and identifying innocent people of fantastic lies and brazen crimes,”
The Law Department of the city said it would review the lawsuit.