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.

Read More

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.

Read More

A Late Notice of Claim Does Not Have To Be a Death Knell

In New York, special notice-of-claim requirements apply to personal injury claims against government entities or operators. In most cases it is vital to ensure that the appropriate entity receives a proper notice of the claim on time. However, giving a late notice of claim is not always fatal to a case.

Notice-of-Claim Requirements

If an injured person sues an officer or employee of a public corporation or other government organization, New York law requires that notice of the person’s claim be given to the proper government entity in a notice of claim.

This notice-of-claim rule applies to personal injury lawsuits against public hospitals, transportation systems and schools as well as government-owned utilities and other operators providing public services. Therefore, people who are hit by city buses, suffer from malpractice at county hospitals or slip and fall in municipal buildings must provide a proper notice of claim if they sue the government operator or entity for damages. Some examples of entities requiring a notice of claim include:

  • The City of New York
  • Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)
  • Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
  • Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority (MABSTOA)
  • Staten Island Rapid Transit Operating Authority (SIRTOA)
  • New York City Housing Authority
  • New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation

The notice of claim must be in writing and notarized. It should provide the date, time and precise location of incident as well as a brief description of the event and the injuries that resulted. Importantly, the notice of claim must be delivered to the involved government entity within 90 days of the incident.

Late Notice of Claim

In general, a court will not allow an injured person’s personal injury claim to go forward if the defendant-government operator or entity did not receive a proper and timely notice of claim. However, a court may allow a late notice of claim if it finds the tardiness reasonable.

New York courts consider many factors when deciding whether a late notice of claim is allowable. These factors include:

  • The defendant’s actual knowledge of the claim within the first 90 days, considering available police reports or internal investigations of the event
  • Whether the injured person is a minor or mentally or physically incapacitated
  • Whether the injured person’s notice is late due to action of the defendant such as settlement discussions
  • Whether the injured person made an excusable error in identifying the appropriate government entity
  • Whether the delay would substantially prejudice, or harm the defendant’s case

If a court finds an injured person’s tardiness is excusable, it may allow the injured person to file a late notice of claim and proceed with his or her case.

If you have been injured in an incident involving government operators or entities, contact a personal injury lawyer who has experience advocating for acceptance of his or her client’s late notice of claim. A knowledgeable attorney can help you understand what options you have when the notice of claim deadline has passed or is quickly approaching.

Read More