18 year African American Male recovers $250,000 in a settlement from the City of New York due to police brutality, excessive force and false arrest.
On May 9, 2008, at around 11:30 p.m., the plaintiff, an African American 18 year old male with no prior history of arrests or criminal convictions, was returning to his girlfriend’s home with her car. When he parked the car in front of her home and met her on the sidewalk she started to argue with him. The argument arose because he didn’t return the car to her earlier in the day, and refused to answer her calls to his cellphone. She slapped him in the face and as he put up his hands to defend himself and hold her back, she fell backwards to the ground. Unbeknownst to either of them, two police officers where observing them from the street, and both immediately grabbed the young man from behind and pushed him down to the ground. While the plaintiff’s stomach was on the ground, and his hands were handcuffed behind his back, one of the police officers repeatedly struck and beat the plaintiff in the face with his fists at least ½ dozen times. The plaintiff offered no resistance, and his girlfriend stood by and was yelling and screaming at the police officer to stop striking him and leave him alone as the plaintiff did nothing wrong. The entire incident was audio recorded on the plaintiff’s cellphone (during the incident his girlfriend accidentally pushed the redial button and it transmitted the event to the plaintiff’s cellphone voicemail which was later retrieved). As a result of the incident, the plaintiff sustained permanent multiple broken bones to his nose, a deviated septum that required hospitalization, and a surgical repair. Plaintiff’s expert plastic surgeon also opined that the plaintiff would require additional plastic surgery to repair his deviated septum and restore his nose to its pre-injury appearance. The police argued that they lawfully intervened in a domestic dispute between the plaintiff and his girlfriend. However, this defense was proven to be an afterthought by the City’s lawyers as the police failed to fill out or file any of the required domestic dispute paperwork which according to their own testimony is always required even if the complainant girlfriend refuses to cooperate. The police also issued desk appearances to the plaintiff for harassment and resisting arrest, and those summons were dismissed based on their failure to prosecute. In addition to his past and future medical costs, sought and obtained reimbursement for his costs to hire a criminal defense lawyer. The matter was settled before the case was sent out for trial by Justice Peter Sweeney in Supreme Court, Kings County.