Who is Eva Lopez? Influencer sues NYPD for $30M for using her pic on 'WANTED' poster
Eva Lopez, an Instagram influencer, has sued the New York Police Department (NYPD) for $30 million in damages after the police department erroneously put her photo on a "wanted" poster instead of the real culprit's. She said that the poster caused her "emotional distress".
Eva Lopez, 31, who hails from Queens, claimed that she was vacationing in Florida on August 16, 2021, when for the first time she saw a wanted poster featuring her profile photo. Lopez, who is a bartender, and fashion influencer, is portrayed in a hot pink tube top on the poster which states she is wanted for grand theft after reportedly escorting a client and snatching his roommate's $13,000 Rolex watch and credit card.
Lopez then instantly called the NYPD, who purportedly informed her that they were aware of the issue and had removed all posts containing her photo. But the damage was already done, Lopez stated. “I thought it was something fake. I really couldn’t believe the police would put me on a wanted poster,” she recalled.
“It was already spread around on social media. … It was still being passed around, still being talked about, still making me look like a thief and a prostitute,” Lopez informed the Post.
"Wanted for Grand Larceny. Perpetrator—probable cause to arrest," the poster stated.
The NYPD claimed that the crime occurred on August 3 in Manhattan, but Lopez stated that she was in Queens that day. Her boyfriend encountered the poster first after he got a message from his friend about it.
"I thought it was something fake. I really couldn't believe the police would put me on a wanted poster," Lopez told the Post that several other people contacted her regarding the same. Lopez ignored the poster until her boss convinced her that it was real and directed her to communicate the issue with the East Village's 9th Precinct.
According to the lawsuit grievance, she called Detective Kevin Dwyer, whose name was stated on the flyer. Dwyer informed Lopez that the wanted poster had already been discarded from the department's official Facebook page and other websites.
According to the detective, the real criminal had a tattoo sleeve which Lopez didn’t have. Lopez explained her innocence to her 865,000 Instagram followers. However, she had to change her settings to private which caused her a lot of loss.
“People didn't think I was being honest,” she told the Post. “It was just really, really embarrassing, not only for me but for my family, as well," she added.
Lopez's attorney Mark Shirian told in the lawsuit that the erroneous case “has caused and continues to cause Ms Lopez severe mental anguish and emotional distress. Ms Lopez was unable to sleep for weeks after the incident.”
“The NYPD should commit to more thorough investigations before haphazardly accusing and identifying innocent people of fantastic lies and brazen crimes,” Shirian expressed to the Post.
The NYPD has still not commented on the situation. It's not the first time that the NYPD has been accused of such an error. Before this, the NYPD used a pregnant Harlem woman's photograph on a flyer in 2020. Vanessa Adames filed a lawsuit, claiming she was only purchasing snacks at a deli when she was captured on camera with the criminals the NYPD was hunting for.