Suspect Shootings Bring Claims of Police Brutality in New York City

Members of the largely Caribbean Bronx neighborhood of Williamsbridge recently came together to protest the police shooting of a local teenager – the latest incident of police violence.

An NYPD investigation of street corner drug dealing – a neighborhood problem according to local residents – targeted a Bronx 18-year-old for questioning in February 2012. Believing he was armed, street narcotics officers chased the teen to his second-floor Bronx apartment, broke down the door and shot him as his grandmother and 6-year-old brother stood by. A thorough search revealed a bag of marijuana but no gun. The victim died at a nearby hospital of a single gunshot wound to the chest, according to a WSJ.com article.

Also, an online video showing police kicking and punching another teen – again an 18-year-old – during his recent arrest has sparked community outrage and charges of police brutality. While the Bronx district attorney’s office investigates the case, the four officers involved in the beating are on restricted duty. “I know there are good cops out there, but there are few bad apples and we have to set an example,” said the victim’s mother.

Wave of Police Shootings is Unusual in Recent Years

Police shot and killed eight people in the line of duty and injured 16 in 2010, a rate consistent with the figures from 2007 through 2009. Yet only three officers were injured between 2008 and 2010 and none were killed. That changed with the December 2011 death of Officer Peter Figoski, who was shot during a botched robbery. In another recent incident, Officer Kevin Brennan was shot in the head at point-blank range, but survived. Suspects in the incidents have pleaded not guilty.

Despite these dangers, police remain under scrutiny for the use of excessive violence and other types of police misconduct. According to NYDailyNews.com, Eugene O’Donnell, a professor of police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, observed that given enough time the public often forgets the names of police killed in the line of duty, but they can still remember the names of the unarmed men who were shot and killed by police 13 years ago – a particular incident that led to major reforms in the department of 35,000.

The vast majority of police are hard-working individuals that have earned the trust that society has place in them, but as humans they too can make mistakes. If you or a loved one has been injured or mistreated by law enforcement, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your case and determine your options.

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Is “To Protect and Serve,” All About Protecting Themselves? Police Misconduct in NYC

“To protect and serve,” is a phrase that often comes to mind when thinking about law enforcement. Police officers are trained to respond to emergency situations and help individuals in distress. Many people associate a general feeling of trust with police officers, but one cannot help and wonder if anyone can be trusted when alarming stories of police misconduct filter through the New York news.

Multiple Misconduct Allegations

For the NYPD, there appears to be no shortage of allegations of police misconduct. Recent headlines have decried officers for fixing traffic tickets and hiding each other’s domestic violence and drunk driving charges. In addition to a large-scale investigation of over 40 officers for alleged ticket fixing, the trial involving two NYPD officers accused of raping a 27-year-old woman began last month.

In December 2008, NYPD officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata responded to a 911 call from a taxi driver who had a woman in his cab that was too drunk to get out on her own. Surveillance video from a nearby bar showed the officers helping the woman into her apartment building. It also showed them returning to her apartment at least two more times that evening.

According to prosecutors, Officer Moreno raped the woman while she was passed out on her bed. Officer Mata was also present, making him an accomplice to the rape. Charges were not brought against the two officers until April 2009, when the woman secretly taped a conversation with Officer Moreno in which he answered “yes” when she asked if he wore condom.

The officers have been charged with rape, official misconduct, falsifying record, burglary and other crimes, and could receive up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

Police Brutality

Unfortunately, stories of police brutality and misconduct are not as uncommon as one would hope. Often, police brutality can result in trauma and serious injury to individuals involved. Some common complaints of police brutality and misconduct include:

  • Excessive or unnecessary use of force, including attacking or mistreating detainees.
  • Abuse of authority
  • Discourtesy, such as searching or harassing people for “loitering” in public areas, or racially profiling individuals.
  • Using offensive language, or verbally attacking or provoking individuals.

According to the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), complaints filed against the NYPD have been, for the most part, increasing since 2001. In 2008, 7,405 complaints were filed with the CCRB – 57 percent of which included allegations of unnecessary force.

If you or a loved one has been injured by a police officer or a corrections officer who used unnecessary or excessive force, or another abuse of authority, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about how to protect your rights.

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New York Police Brutality Comes at a High Price

Often, many in America have an idealized, romanticized Andy-Griffith-in-Mayberry image of police officers. While this image tends to hold true for many interactions with police officers, there is an altogether different reality for some.

Over the past decade, the New York Police Department (NYPD), the largest police department in the United States, has paid out nearly $1 billion to resolve claims against the department and its officers – it should be noted that a substantial amount of the payouts have gone to resolve police brutality and misconduct cases. This large payout is the unfortunate face of a sad, and sometimes tragic, issue which is not contained solely within the bounds of the New York City limits.

The altercation between police and a few players from the Pace University football team should serve as a reminder that police brutality can occur anywhere and to anyone.

The Police’s Pace University Tragedy

A vehicle, containing Pace University football players, was shot at for allegedly driving into two officers while pulling out of a fire lane. The driver, after being told to stop according to witnesses, continued moving. As the vehicle pulled out, officers fired into the vehicle. One of the passengers was arrested and threatened to be shot while a gun was poked into his ribs after he begged officers to allow him to perform CPR on his friend, who lie dying on the sidewalk after being shot by the police. Officers also Tasered and arrested two other football players involved.

It is understood that police perform a difficult and dangerous job, and are often the on the receiving end of taunts. These, however, are not excuses for an officer to take out his or her frustrations on an unwitting person, guilty or not.

When Police Misconduct Occurs

If you or a loved one has been victimized by police brutality at the hands of an over-zealous police officer it is vitally important to protect your rights. In police misconduct cases it is important to seek the guidance of a personal injury attorney who has experience with police brutality cases.

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Police Brutality: Too Common in NYC

A New York City police officer says fellow police officers brutally beat him after his wife called for help when thugs threatened guests at their Queens home. The New York Daily News reports that Officer Larry Jackson says fellow officers broke his hand after they were called for help in removing a gun-wielding man from his daughter’s birthday party.

Racial Motivation?

Jackson, who is black, said he did not identify himself as a cop when the white NYPD officers arrived at his home. Jackson, a six-year police veteran, said he thinks the excessive force used by the officers might have been racially motivated.

He and his wife said police officers hit at least six members of their family with batons.”We called the police, and this is what happened to me,” Jackson told the newspaper. “I’m shocked, angry and disappointed.”

Nearby Case

Those same emotions undoubtedly apply in a nearby police brutality case. In April, Philadelphia city psychologist Anthony Abrams charged a city police officer with beating him. Abrams required surgery after his eye socket was fractured, he says, as a result of the beating.

He said he was beaten after an officer spotted him handing $20 to a woman for information about the location of one of his clients. In both the Abrams and Jackson cases, the internal affairs departments of the police departments are investigating the claims of police misconduct.

Going Nowhere

As victims of police brutality often learn, these internal investigations typically lead to exoneration of the officers when there is evidence of wrongdoing or excessive force.

In many cases, victims of police brutality find their only recourse is a civil suit against the police officer and the city. By pursuing legal action, they serve notice that they will not allow abusive law enforcement officers to get away with criminal behavior. The lawsuits can also serve as a deterrent to other police with similarly violent inclinations.

Protecting Citizens

If you have suffered an injury because of New York City law enforcement misconduct or brutality, contact an experienced New York City personal injury attorney who understands the laws protecting citizens from physical abuse by police officers in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island and Queens.

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Police Brutality Still a Problem in New York

When police in Passaic, New Jersey beat Ronnie Holloway outside a restaurant last May, the incident was captured on videotape and sparked an anti-police brutality rally. The police officer who was seen to engage in what appeared to be an unprovoked assault on the unarmed, peaceful and compliant Holloway was soon indicted. Police officer Joseph Rios was suspended from the force and pleaded not guilty to police misconduct and assault charges last November.

About Police Misconduct

While the Holloway case seemed to be an extreme example of police brutality, not all police misconduct cases involve such extreme behavior. Police are commonly placed in dangerous situations, forced to make instant judgments about impending threats. For this reason, police are held to a different standard when it comes to misconduct complaints than would apply in an ordinary personal injury case. For a police officer to be held liable for use of excessive force, the injured party must show that the police officer’s use of force was both unreasonable and willful.

Not all complaints against police involve brutality, of course. Misconduct claims may also arise from false arrest, profiling, malicious prosecution, failure to intervene, misuse of weapons and improper searches. In these cases, where the complainant suffers no physical injury, proving a case can be challenging.

The official police record may contain fabricated evidence to back up the errant police officer’s action. Not every victim of police misconduct finds that the incident underlying his complaint has been recorded on a security video. Experienced attorneys can make the difference between a police complaint being successfully prosecuted and being dismissed or ruled upon unfavorably.

Types Of Compensation

Proving a case of police brutality can result in a court judgment for compensatory damages to make the victim whole. Extreme cases may also result in a punitive damage award, designed to punish the wrongdoer and deter future wrongdoing. Medical expenses and attorney’s fees may also be awarded in appropriate cases.

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