Attorney: Man to sue for false arrest, civil rights violation after DWI charge

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RIVERHEAD -

The attorney for a Riverhead man who was arrested for DWI after he hit a 5-year-old on a bike says his client plans suing for false arrest and civil rights violations. 

William Downing was arrested Aug. 4 and charged with misdemeanor DWI after he hit the boy.

Downing, who stayed at the scene after the incident, admitted he drank half a can of beer but wasn’t drunk. 

His blood alcohol level at the scene was reported to be 0.05.

According to New York state law, a BAC of more than 0.05 is evidence that someone is impaired, and 0.08 means that someone is intoxicated. 

Downing's attorney says that he was arrested and charged with DWI anyway.

He also says a blood test taken after the accident shows that Downing had a BAC level of 0.03. 

The district attorney's office says it plans to drop the DWI charges against the grandfather on Monday. 

The attorney for the 78-year-old says after the charges are dropped, they will be filing a $5 million lawsuit against the town and the police department for false arrest and violating Downing's civil rights.

The attorney says his client's name and reputation was ruined in the community and on social media. 

The 5-year-old suffered a head injury and is recovering.

News 12 reached out to Riverhead police, but it had no comment.

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