A Brooklyn prostitute who was arrested for stealing an off-duty cop’s cruiser says he’s been a client for years and has an unpaid bill of about $2,000.
According to an exclusive report with the New York Daily News, sex worker Taquanna Lawton said she took off in Officer Ali Sheppard’s Jeep on Tuesday night after the two met to settle his tab. Once the two were together, Lawton said, the officer began to pressure her for sex.
After Sheppard picked up Lawton, he drove to an ATM in East New York so he could withdraw the cash to cover some of his debt. However, as he drove Lawton around, the 13-year NYPD veteran allegedly locked the door and was “keeping me against my will,” said Lawton.
“He shouldn’t have done what he did,” said the 20-year-old. “I was relieved I got away from him.”
Lawton recounted that she eventually became uncomfortable with Sheppard’s behavior and felt the need to run once left alone in the vehicle. Just a day after driving off in Sheppard’s car, Lawton was arrested.
The 38-year-old cop was immediately suspended from the NYPD and will face departmental disciplinary charges in the case.
According to Lawton, she had known Sheppard as a steady customer for 2½ years. After the sex worker took his car, Sheppard claimed his police-issued Smith & Wesson firearm was left inside the car and also stolen, a story Lawton refutes.
“I didn’t do anything with the gun,” she said. “I don’t know why he said there was a gun there when there wasn’t.”
Lawton also claimed that she suffered a miscarriage while in police custody, although neither the NYPD nor correction officials could confirm her story. A police source did tell the News that Lawton was pregnant and had to go to the hospital on Wednesday night, which is why her arraignment was delayed a day. She is the mother of three kids: A 3-year-old daughter and twin 2-year-olds.