The Oscar winner is released on bail after being arrested near her N.Y.C. home

By Stephen M. Silverman and Kathy Ehrich Dowd
Updated June 02, 2008 08:15 AM

Tatum O’Neal was arrested in New York City Sunday for allegedly buying cocaine near her home, according to authorities.

A New York City Police spokesman Det. Martin Speechley confirmed to PEOPLE the Paper Moon Oscar winner, 44, was seen making the illicit purchase at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday on Clinton Street. She was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor.

Speechley said police also arrested the alleged drug dealer, Allen Garcia, 32, who was charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, a class B felony.

O’Neal and the dealer were taken to Manhattan’s 7th precinct for booking. O’Neal was arraigned and released on her own recognizance Monday shortly after noon.

The New York Post reports that O’Neal, who appears regularly on the cable series Rescue Me, is said to have told officers, “You know who I am, right?” She also claimed she was “researching a part – I’m doing this for a part as a junkie.”

In addition, she is quoted as telling detectives, “Can’t we just forget about this?”

O’Neal, the daughter of actor Ryan O’Neal and the ex-wife of John McEnroe, told PEOPLE in 2002 that she was abandoned by a drug-abusing mother (actress Joanna Moore) at age 7 and began using drugs by 14 – moving eventually from marijuana, Quaaludes and cocaine to heroin.

O’Neal chronicled her struggles with addiction in her 2004 memoir, A Paper Life. The actress completed rehab in 1996 and claimed to be clean.

She is due back in court July 28. Messages left for her publicist went unreturned.