Let's say that you are accused of a crime that you did not commit. You plead with the cops in the most respectful and proper way that you can imagine, but it doesn't matter. For weeks your life is consumed by this pending criminal case and all of the consequences you are going to have to deal with. You're an emotional wreck, constantly stressing about what is going to happen to you.
Your anxiety is finally relieved when the police drop the case against you because they determined that you are indeed innocent. But even though you feel great about this case being dropped, it still seems to follow you everywhere. People are seeing your name online and in the newspaper because the press ran with the story before you were declared innocent. You notice that friends seem to treat you differently. Your life simply isn't the same, even though you've been found innocent.
Such is the damaging effect of a simple criminal accusation -- not even a conviction, but an accusation. One man is living through that right now, and he's suing the police and the media as a result.
The case stems from a kidnapping event. The man who is suing the police and media was accused of participating in a kidnapping and ransom plot involving the man's accountant, who was held captive and tortured for a month. Eventually the people involved were caught, or they fled -- all except one person. That person was allegedly the man who is now suing, but he was wrongfully accused.
Source: Courthouse News Service, "Man Says NYPD Screwed Up & Defamed Him," Iulia Filip, May 6, 2014