Marchando was charged with violating a vaguely worded New York law prohibiting “Loitering for the Purpose of Engaging in a Prostitution Offense,” a misdemeanor she had been arrested for seven times between 2013 and 2015 in that same precinct. In one loitering case in 2012, she served 45 days on Rikers Island.
“It has been to a point where I have come home from Rikers Island and caught a case less than two days later,” she said. “I felt like I was being watched.”
That’s because she was. Officers in the 75th Precinct knew Sarah Marchando, who is Latina and cisgender, from prior arrests. According to a sworn court complaint, Officer Kelly Quinn said police had observed her for forty minutes that morning before they arrested her, and claimed they saw her “beckon to multiple vehicles passing by with male drivers,” “approach a vehicle,” and “engage in conversation with a male inside of said vehicle.” This was all supposed to be evidence of her “purpose” to commit a prostitution offense. Marchando and her attorneys contest this. She was waiting for a bus. If she was loitering for the purpose of prostitution, she was not engaged in prostitution at the time of her arrest, much less loitering when two officers grabbed her off public transit.
The NYPD Arrests Women for Who They Are and Where They Go — Now They’re Fighting Back, Melissa Gira Grant for the Village Voice (November 22, 2016)