Chinemerem Eze, a Nigerian national attending Brooklyn College, believed that her landlord had hidden a camera in her apartment. When she asked school officials for help, they shipped her off to a psychiatric ward. Then she found the camera.
Eze is suing Brooklyn College for false imprisonment, among other things, over a 2008 episode in which she approached school administrators for help in dealing with issues she was having with her roommates and landlord at her Brooklyn apartment. According to the complaint, Eze believed that she was being "defamed on the internet" by her former roommates and that "her landlord at the time had installed a hidden camera in her bedroom." Sounds nuts!
That's what school psychologist Sally Robles thought. When Eze went to Brooklyn College's Office of Campus and Community Safety Services to ask for help, security officers called Robles, who proceeded to ask Eze about her mental health history and whether she ever heard voices. When Eze protested that she was simply an international student asking the school's security staff for help on dealing with a housing issue, Robles called an ambulance.
Eze was "forced" into the ambulance by school officials, and ended up being committed to Kings County Psychiatric Hospital for two weeks, where in addition to being made "physically and emotionally ill and subject to great humiliation," she missed her final exams and was "terminated" by the school.
Trouble is, according to Eze's verified complaint, there really was a camera hidden in her bedroom.
Whoops! Now, Eze offers no proof in her complaint that the camera existed, nor did she ever file criminal charges against her landlord for it. Her attorney, Andrew Spinnell, says she doesn't have it any more: "I've never seen it. She said it was hidden in a vent, and she moved out right away. But the issue isn't whether there was a camera—the issue is this timid, foreign student here in America all by herself went to Brooklyn College for help, and instead of helping her, they grill her and think she's a wacko." As for the internet defamation, Spinnell is vague: "She heard about that through friends. She said it was hearsay."
Eze settled a medical malpractice case against the City of New York stemming from the episode in November for what Spinnell says was a "six-figure" amount. Which would tend to indicate that someone erred in locking her up for two weeks. You can read her complaint here.
Eze is refusing to answer questions, and Brooklyn College did not immediately respond to a request for comment.