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Brooklyn cop used excessive force when he cracked suspect in the head with baton: prosecutor
A Brooklyn cop crossed the line when he cracked a suspect in the head with a baton, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Officer Keith Dsouza violated NYPD guidelines and used unjustified and potentially deadly physical force against Ryan Scails when he and his partner busted him for public urination in Red Hook on July 5, 2012, said Heather Cook, a Civilian Complaint Review Board prosecutor.

“There was never a deadly physical force threat to these officers — never,” Cook said at Dsouza’s administrative trial at NYPD headquarters.

“[Dsouza] hit him in the head, and he knew he wasn’t supposed to him in the head. He got in more than one whack on his head.”

Scails filed a complaint with the CCRB, which substantiated it, leading to the trial.

Dsouza, who has seven years on the force and could lose at least a week’s pay if found guilty, testified he and his partner, Officer Fernando Lopes, chased Scails for three blocks after they saw him relieving himself against a building. He said Scails resisted arrest and prevented Lopes from handcuffing him.

But he said he used his collapsible baton properly, hitting Scails in the arm, shoulder and leg.

“Never touched his head,” Dsouza said.

Grainy surveillance video is at the center of the case. It shows Lopes slamming Scails a into a wall, then using his 250-pound frame to smother the 155-pound suspect.

Dsouza is seen repeatedly striking Scails with his baton, but the video does not conclusively show that any of those blows landed on Scails’ head. Cook, however, argued otherwise.

After Scails was handcuffed, he was covered in blood, Cook said.

Scails, a 24-year-old arts student at the time, needed stitches to repair wounds on his right leg and behind his right ear. The charges against him — resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and public urination — were later dismissed.

In addition to the CCRB complaint, he filed a civil rights lawsuit, which is pending.

He testified he was wrong to have run from police but that when he stopped fleeing and gave up Lopes pinned him to the ground on the left side of his body, and he was unable to free his hand to fully surrender.

“I was trying give them my hands, but also trying not to be hit,” he said.

Scails said he had four or five beers at a July 4 house party in Prospect Heights. He then went to bar in Red Hook, but left without having another drink, and was on his way home to Park Slope when he decided to make an illegal pit stop.

“I felt violated,” he said of the encounter with police, after he had testified. “I still do.”

Lopes was not accused of wrongdoing; Cook said he used the proper amount of force.
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Rocco Parascandola Jul-31-2014 85 0
A Brooklyn cop crossed the line when he cracked a suspect in the head with a baton, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

Officer Keith Dsouza violated NYPD guidelines and used unjustified and potentially deadly physical force against Ryan Scails when he and his partner busted him for public urination in Red Hook on July 5, 2012, said Heather Cook, a Civilian Complaint Review Board prosecutor.

“There was never a deadly physical force threat to these officers — never,” Cook said at Dsouza’s administrative trial at NYPD headquarters.

“[Dsouza] hit him in the head, and he knew he wasn’t supposed to him in the head. He got in more than one whack on his head.”

Scails filed a complaint with the CCRB, which substantiated it, leading to the trial.

Dsouza, who has seven years on the force and could lose at least a week’s pay if found guilty, testified he and his partner, Officer Fernando Lopes, chased Scails for three blocks after they saw him relieving himself against a building. He said Scails resisted arrest and prevented Lopes from handcuffing him.

But he said he used his collapsible baton properly, hitting Scails in the arm, shoulder and leg.

“Never touched his head,” Dsouza said.

Grainy surveillance video is at the center of the case. It shows Lopes slamming Scails a into a wall, then using his 250-pound frame to smother the 155-pound suspect.

Dsouza is seen repeatedly striking Scails with his baton, but the video does not conclusively show that any of those blows landed on Scails’ head. Cook, however, argued otherwise.

After Scails was handcuffed, he was covered in blood, Cook said.

Scails, a 24-year-old arts student at the time, needed stitches to repair wounds on his right leg and behind his right ear. The charges against him — resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and public urination — were later dismissed.

In addition to the CCRB complaint, he filed a civil rights lawsuit, which is pending.

He testified he was wrong to have run from police but that when he stopped fleeing and gave up Lopes pinned him to the ground on the left side of his body, and he was unable to free his hand to fully surrender.

“I was trying give them my hands, but also trying not to be hit,” he said.

Scails said he had four or five beers at a July 4 house party in Prospect Heights. He then went to bar in Red Hook, but left without having another drink, and was on his way home to Park Slope when he decided to make an illegal pit stop.

“I felt violated,” he said of the encounter with police, after he had testified. “I still do.”

Lopes was not accused of wrongdoing; Cook said he used the proper amount of force.

Oren Yaniv Jul-31-2014 180 0
Brooklyn's top lawman declared a man who wrongfully served nearly 16 years in prison for killing a rabbi “innocent” — an unusually strong statement that could seal the deal on a lawsuit settlement.

“I believe Jabbar Collins is innocent,” District Attorney Kenneth Thompson told the Daily News Editorial Board Tuesday. “A travesty of justice happened in that case.”

Collins had his 1995 conviction tossed in 2010, leading to an ongoing $150 million federal suit that brought to light alleged misconduct by the office of former DA Charles Hynes.

“It’s a remarkable statement,” said Collins’ lawyer, Joel Rudin. “You almost never get city officials to make this kind of statement.”

Thompson made the Collins case a central issue during his contentious campaign last year, but he referred to him as “likely wrongfully imprisoned,” never “innocent.”

He also refrained from using that term while clearing seven murder defendants since taking office whose convictions he had deemed faulty.

“I think there needs to be an accounting in terms of what happened in that case,” he said of Collins’ conviction that was obtained after prosecutor and Hynes’ top lieutenant Michael Vecchione allegedly coerced witnesses and withheld evidence.

“We need to know the truth,” Thompson said.

Collins’ civil case may be settled in the coming days as the two sides engage in furious negotiations.

AP Jul-30-2014 130 0
An 8-year-old boy who was sleeping early Wednesday died after a bullet fired from outside went through the home's wall and into his bedroom, hitting him, Detroit police said.


The child was struck once about 1:15 a.m. Wednesday at the Brewster Homes complex on Detroit's east side, Officer Adam Madera said, and pronounced dead about 45 minutes later at Children's Hospital of Michigan.

"He was sleeping in his room and gunshots were fired from outside," Madera said.

No arrests were immediately made, but Detroit police were speaking with a "person of interest" in the case, Madera said. An autopsy is scheduled Thursday, Wayne County medical examiner's office spokeswoman Mary Mazur said.

The boy's name wasn't released by police, but The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press identify him as Jakari Pearson.

Grief-stricken relatives declined to be interviewed by The Associated Press. But next door neighbor Tenesha Higgins said there were "five or six" very loud booms — something she said is common in the public housing complex several miles northeast of downtown.

"I was just laying down to sleep," said Higgins, 30. "I heard the gunshots. It sounded like it was literally in front of the house. I waited, then I heard screaming and police sirens.

"I opened the door and the boy was laying in the street," she said, adding it appeared the mother's boyfriend was trying to rush him to the hospital.

"He was a good boy," Higgins said. "He liked to play baseball."

Neighbors and passers-by started a makeshift memorial of stuffed bears, dogs and other toy animals on the front porch of the home. Propped on the toys were handwritten cardboard signs that read: "CHILDREN ARE THE FUTURE!" ''GIVE OUR CHLDREN A CHANCE" and "UNITED WE STAND ... STOP THE VIOLENCE!!!!"

Jakari's slaying follows the July 1 shooting death of a 2-year-old girl in Inkster, southwest of Detroit. Police in that case have said KaMiya Gross was killed in front of her father as retaliation from an earlier shooting. Two men are charged in her death.

Late Wednesday morning, police still were at Jakari's home, a corner unit of several attached row houses. The shots appeared to have been fired behind the home toward the second floor. One tore through an upstairs window, while another appeared to cleanly pass through the exterior brick wall two feet beneath the window.

Jakari was to enter the fourth grade at Spain Elementary this year, friends said.

Higgins is fed up with the crime that has been creeping over the past decade or so into the neighborhood. She's lived there about 15 years.

"It can get very dangerous," Higgins said. "These guys get away with a lot of stuff. There have been numerous break-ins.

"I haven't been to sleep. I don't feel safe at all. I didn't go to work today. I didn't want to leave my baby."

Jul-30-2014 103 0
ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith will be warming the bench this week.

The sports network suspended Smith for one week on Tuesday for televised remarks he made last week seeming to suggest that victims of domestic abuse sometimes shared responsibility for physical assault.

“Stephen A. Smith will not appear on First Take or ESPN Radio for the next week,” ESPN said in a brief statement. “He will return to ESPN next Wednesday.”

On Saturday, the Daily News reported that Smith is already planning to leave ESPN radio for Sirius XM’s Mad Dog Radio channel, where he will host his own show.

Smith has apologized several times for comments he made Friday on the sports debate show First Take, where Smith and fellow ESPN personality Skip Bayless discussed the two-game suspension the NFL levied on Ravens running back Ray Rice. Surveillance cameras from an Atlantic City casino showed Rice dragging his unconscious bride-to-be, Janay Palmer, out of an elevator, days before their marriage.

“Let’s make sure we don’t do anything to provoke wrong actions,” Smith said. “If we come after somebody has put their hands on you, it doesn’t negate the fact that they already put their hands on you. So let’s try to make sure that we can do our part in making sure that that doesn’t happen.”

In a long and sometimes confusing soliloquy, Smith went on to concede that Rice “probably deserves more than a two-game suspension.” Then Smith said “we also have to make sure that we learn as much as we can about elements of provocation.”

The comments prompted an immediate deluge of criticism, led by Smith’s ESPN colleague Michelle Beadle, who called him out on Twitter, saying “violence isn’t the victim’s issue, it’s the abuser’s.”

Smith tried to quell the outrage in a series of posts on Twitter, then in a longer statement, and finally in an on-air apology broadcast on Monday morning. After ESPN’s decision, Smith (@stephenasmith) tweeted out: My apology on @ESPN_FirstTake Monday morning speaks for itself. I accept ESPN’s Decision. See you all next Wednesday. God Bless!

Smith had made similar comments in 2012, when NFL receiver Chad Johnson was charged with domestic battery following a dispute with his then-wife, Evelyn Lozada. In response to that news, Smith suggested Lozada was exaggerating the incident and that “her actions have been completely glossed over.”

“I am sick and tired of men constantly being vilified and accused of things and we stop there,” Smith said. “I’m saying, ‘Can we go a step further?’ Since we want to dig all deeper into Chad Johnson, can we dig in deep to her?’ ”

Jul-30-2014 102 0
The NYPD cops who shot and killed a 16-year-old Brooklyn boy who was allegedly armed — sparking mini street riots — will not face a criminal prosecution, the Daily News has learned.

Lawyers for the family of Kimani Gray, who died in an East Flatbush street on March 2013, notified a federal judge Tuesday that prosecutors informed them “that they are not pursuing criminal charges against the (officers) and will not be presenting case to the grand jury,” a court document shows.

The decision came after a recently-completed investigation ordered by Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson, sources said.

A DA spokeswoman confirmed the office will not present the case to a grand jury.

Police have said Gray pointed a loaded .38-caliber handgun at the officers and claimed he was ordered to drop it.

But his family and lawyers noted that out of seven bullets that struck the teen, three entered from his back, suggesting he was running away.

Dozens were arrested in subsequent protests, including Kimani’s sister, and at least two officers were lightly injured in the fracas.

The kid’s parents have filed a federal lawsuit naming the two cops involved in his death: Sergeant Mourad Mourad and Officer Jovaniel Cordova.




NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi
Carol Gray (l.) lost her son, Kimani Gray, in the March 2013 shooting.
Fatimah Shakur speaks during a vigil held for Kimani Gray in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, on March 13, 2013.

Police officers arrest a demonstrator during a march after a vigil for Kimani Gray on March 13, 2013.



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NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi.
Demonstrator Fatimah Shakur speaks during a vigil held for Kimani "Kiki" Gray in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, Wednesday, March 13, 2013, in New York. The 16-year-old was shot to death on a Brooklyn street last Saturday night by plainclothes police officers who claim the youth pointed a .38-caliber revolver at them. (AP Photo/John Minchillo).
Police officers arrest a demonstrator during a march after a vigil held for Kimani "Kiki" Gray in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, Wednesday, March 13, 2013, in New York. The 16-year-old was shot to death on a Brooklyn street last Saturday night by plainclothes police officers who claim the youth pointed a .38-caliber revolver at them. (AP Photo/John Minchillo).
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Julia Xanthos/New York Daily News

Lawyers of the defendants and the city recently asked a judge to put a stay on the suit until the conclusion of a potential criminal case.

One of the Grays attorneys, Michael Hueston, cited the DA opting to punt when asking to deny that request.

Insiders have described the chances of a grand jury action as slim all along.

“It’s what I’ve expected,” another family lawyer, Kenneth Montgomery, said of the DA’s decision. “I’m going by how long it has taken and the police’s initial statement that the shooting was justified.”

A DA spokeswoman did not immediately confirm the office’s determination.

“We’re going to make the results of police shooting cases known” after concluding investigations and meeting with victims’ relatives, Thompson said.

The issue of prosecuting police officers came into sharper focus recently when father-of-six Eric Garner died this month after an arresting officer put him in a chokehold. The Staten Island DA is probing that incident.



Rebecca Lopez Jul-29-2014 131 0
For three-and-a-half minutes, Joe Wesson can be heard screaming and groaning in pain in a recording of his arrest.

The video was shot by a passerby who saw Wesson being arrested in June 2014.

You can hear the passerby commenting on the tape, “Damn, that is unnecessary."

Wesson is pictured already handcuffed and not resisting arrest. Officer Jesus Martinez stays on top of him and yanks Wesson's arm over his head several times.

"He actually was kneeing me in my back and pulled both my arms in the air like he was trying to break both of them," Wesson said.

According to an arrest affidavit, Martinez said Wesson was panhandling, and resisted arrest by swinging at the officer with closed fists and grabbing the officer's uniform, causing it to rip.

The officer said he had to use pepper spray but that was not captured on video, and Wesson disputes the account.

"I am 57 years old. I'm not thinking that it's that serious for a cop to really take that much force on one guy," Wesson said.

The officer did radio for assistance, but remained on top of Wesson even after other officers arrived. He eventually left Wesson lying on the concrete.

"Clearly, we have an issue here in the City of Dallas, and something needs to be addressed," said Daryl Kevin Washington, Wesson’s attorney.

Wesson was charged with resisting arrest.

The Dallas Police Department declined comment, saying there are ongoing internal and criminal investigations into the officer's actions.

Jul-29-2014 122 0
The parents of a south Georgia teenager found dead inside a rolled-up gym mat at school have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against school administrators.

The parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson of Valdosta sued Monday in Superior Court. Their lawsuit blames the Lowndes County school board for allowing Johnson to die "at the hands of one or more students" while at his high school during school hours.

Classmates found Johnson's body inside a rolled-up mat propped in a corner of the gym Jan. 10, 2013.

Sheriff's investigators concluded that he died in a freak accident, having fallen into the mat and gotten stuck upside down.

Johnson's parents insist that someone killed him.

The school board's attorney, Warren Turner, did not immediately return a call Tuesday from The Associated Press.

Jul-29-2014 211 0
A Liberian government official who succumbed to the Ebola virus had family living in Minnesota and was set to return to the U.S. next month, his grieving kin said.

Patrick Sawyer died Friday after suffering extreme bouts of vomiting and diarrhea on a flight from Liberia to Nigeria, leading to fears he may have spread the virus to fellow passengers.

Health workers were scrambling to track down any passengers or flight crew who may have been in contact with the 40-year-old as he flew from Liberia to Ghana to Togo before arriving in Lagos, where he was quarantined and eventually died.

His wife, Decontee Sawyer, said her husband had planned to return to their Coon Rapids home in August to attend two of his three daughters' birthdays, Minnesota's KSTP-TV reported.

The grieving widow said she hoped her husband's death served as a wake-up call about the global threat of the virus, which has already killed more than 670 people in West Africa.

"It's a global problem because Patrick could've easily come home with Ebola," Decontee Sawyer told the station.

"It's close, it's at our front door. It knocked down my front door."

Health experts said it was unlikely Sawyer infected others because Ebola spreads through body fluids such as urine, blood or saliva. Unlike the flu, it does not travel through the air.

So far, Nigerian authorities identified 59 people who came into contact with him, including airline employees and health workers, and tested 20 of them. None of them were positive, The Associated Press reported.

Still, the fact that he was able to board a plane while ill — coupled with the fact his sister recently died from Ebola — raised questions about passenger screening and the risk of the disease spreading through air travel, officials said.

Two other American aid workers in Liberia have fallen ill with the disease and were being cared for by doctors there.

Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, and his colleague Nancy Writebol spent months fighting Ebola in that country before becoming sick themselves.

Brantly's wife and two young children lived with him in Liberia until recently, when they left to attend a wedding in the U.S.

They are now in Abilene, Tex., and were being monitored for signs of the disease, officials said.

Sawyer lived in Minnesota for about a decade before returning to Liberia in 2008 to work as a finance minister, KSTP-TV reported.

His wife said he was beloved in their local Liberian community. They planned to honor him with a memorial in September.

Liberian health workers in protective gear on the way to bury a woman who died of the virus in Foya, Lofa County, earlier this month. More than 670 people have died from the disease since its outbreak in February.

Decontee Sawyer said she was left cold by the thought of another family losing their loved one to the disease and hoped African health officials were doing all they can to fight the outbreak.

"I have three girls who will never get to know their father," she told KSTP-TV.

"This can't happen anymore," she added. "I don't want any more families going through what I'm going through.

Jul-29-2014 194 0
Police are investigating whether a cop put a seven-months-pregnant woman in a chokehold while busting her for illegal grilling in Brooklyn — an incident caught on film.

Photos released Monday by an East New York advocacy group show Rosan Miller, 27, struggling with a cop who appears to have his arm around her neck.

Officers went to the home over the weekend because Miller was grilling on a public sidewalk in violation of local law, cops said. But a melee broke out that ended with her, her brother and husband all in handcuffs.

The brother, John Miller, was charged with harassment and obstruction of justice. Her husband, Moses Miller, 34, was charged with resisting arrest and obstruction. Rosan Miller got a summons for disorderly conduct.

When former city councilman Charles Barron heard, he called cops to complain and "expedite" the Millers' release, he said.

"This was all over a grill," Barron said. "This is about grilling in front of her house."

Former city councilman Charles Barron points out the woman's daughter can be seen watching her mother's arrest.

The seven-months-pregnant Rosan Miller struggles over the weekend.

The advocacy group, People Organizing and Working for Empowerment and Respect, released the photos.

Barron pointed out that the woman's daughter can be seen in the photo watching her mother being arrested.

Barron said one of the cops, a lieutenant, went to the building at 594 Bradford St. Thursday about a domestic incident involving another resident, returned on Saturday and encountered the grilling.

A case in which a man died while in an apparent chokehold has led to outcry in the city recently. Eric Garner, 43, of Staten Island, died July 17 after a confrontation with cops who were arresting him for selling loose cigarettes.

Joel Landau Jul-29-2014 196 0
Police are searching for an overprotective father who assaulted a man for looking at his daughter.

The Upper Darby Police Department in suburban Philadelphia has released a picture of the man and his daughter who were in a Wawa convenience store Sunday when police said the man did not approve of how another male was looking at his child.

The suspect, dressed in a red polo shirt, punched the man in the face, police said. He then left the store.

The victim suffered serious injuries from the assault, police said.

Police did not release any additional information regarding the victim or suspect.

This guy's not an overprotective father ... That's just his excuse for thumping the guy.

"If somebody's looking at your daughter, why don't you confront him instead of punching him?" Upper Darby police Superintendent Michael Chitwood told Philly.com. "This guy's not an overprotective father ... That's just his excuse for thumping the guy."

Anyone with information can call 610-734-7693.



Jul-28-2014 250 0
The night before 8-year-old M.L. Lloyd III was taken to River Parishes Hospital, his stepfather, Errol Victor Jr., along with three other children, whipped and punched the child for stealing ice cream, according to a recorded statement that one of M.L.'s brothers gave to investigators. That recording is expected to be shown in court Monday as the second-degree murder trial of Victor and his wife resumes in Edgard.

The brother, who is scheduled to testify later in the trial, told an interviewer in 2008 that Errol Victor made him and another child hold down M.L. by the arms while the beating was administered. The jurors in St. John the Baptist Parish's 40th Judicial District Court were shown several video recordings on Saturday, and later they requested transcripts and asked that the volume be adjusted because it was difficult to hear.

Errol and Tonya Victor are charged with killing M.L., Tonya Victor's biological son, on April 1, 2008. The couple had a total of 13 sons living at their house in Reserve, where authorities say the beating took place. When they met, Tonya Victor had five sons from previous relationships, and Errol Victor had six sons. The couple later had two sons together.

The recordings were played in court during a 2009 bond hearing. At the time, Tonya and Errol Victor disputed the child's testimony, calling him troubled and a "perverted liar."

Now, however, the use of those recordings comes on the heels of several days of testimony from doctors, one of whom is a considered an expert in child abuse pediatrics. They say M.L.'s death resulted from a beating -- not asthma, as the defendants have suggested. Jurors also have heard from an emergency room nurse, who said Errol Victor told him that the child had been whipped from stealing.

Prosecutors maintain that M.L. was severely whipped and beaten before his parents took him to the LaPlace hospital, where he was pronounced dead. They are focusing their case on second-degree murder as it relates to cruelty to a juvenile, in which there doesn't have to be an intent to kill or inflict great bodily harm.

The Victors are representing themselves in court, although neither has any formal legal training. They have vigorously denied the prosecution's account and say that the boy died as the result of a severe asthma attack. If convicted they face life in prison.

The Victors have produced medical records that show M.L. was diagnosed with asthma as an infant and was treated at the emergency room several times for respiratory problems while he lived in Hammond with Tonya Victor and his biological father, M.L. Lloyd, Jr.

Judge Mary Hotard Becnel, who is presiding over the trial, has said she expects the proceedings to last seven to 12 days. The jury of nine women and three men, with four alternates, began hearing testimony Thursday.

Jul-28-2014 228 0
It has the fewest people of any borough in the city, but it has big problems between police and the citizens they’re sworn to protect.

Staten Island, where Eric Garner died after a cop apparently placed him in a prohibited chokehold maneuver, tops the city as home to the highest number of officers on the most-sued list, a Daily News review has found.

Seven of the city’s top 10 most-sued officers — and 14 of the city’s top 50 most-sued officers — are assigned to a Staten Island narcotics unit working in the territory of the 120th Precinct, records show.

The precinct covers neighborhoods on the North Shore of the island, including the area near Tompkinsville Park where Garner, 43, died after a confrontation with Officer Daniel Pantaleo on July 17.

The News’ review is based on a list of cases filed against officers who have been sued 10 or more times between 2003 and 2013, obtained via a Freedom of Information Law request, and an exhaustive review of court databases. The News found 606 active and closed cases. At least 129 of those cases — or 21% — name one or more officers assigned to the Staten Island narcotics unit, totaling $6 million in payouts.

The unit has racked up the staggering amount of lawsuits despite being the smallest narcotics bureau in the city. With just 40 officers and supervisors, it’s roughly one-fifth the size of Brooklyn North Narcotics.

Nearly all of the cases cite false arrest for charges that ended up getting tossed or sealed — ranging from people collared for their own prescription drugs, to haphazard raids that allegedly swept up innocents and ruined lives.

“There’s a culture in Staten Island, and particularly this precinct, where you break the rules and serve your own interest and don’t have to worry about getting into any kind of trouble,” said lawyer Brett Klein, who’s filed dozens of lawsuits against officers in the borough. “A lot of officers live there, and they’re more isolated from the other boroughs and more off the radar.”

The 120th Precinct also has the highest crime rate in the borough, the most use of the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk tactics in the borough, and is a leader in the number of substantiated police misconduct allegations to the Civilian Complaint Review Board.

The precinct is tied for 11th place in substantiated complaints that occurred between 2009 and 2013, even though it ranks 33rd in population citywide, city records show. And of the 137 cases substantiated citywide this year, at least eight were against officers assigned to Staten Island, and three were against officers assigned to the 120th Precinct.

All of the most-sued officers from the borough were assigned to the Staten Island narcotics unit, which, like the anti-crime unit Pantaleo was assigned to, is involved in aggressive, proactive policing.

Amelia Moore and her teenage son are among those who scored a financial settlement against Staten Island narcotics cops.

Moore, 32, said she lost her nursing home job, then had to pull her sons out of the St. Sylvester Catholic school because she couldn’t afford the tuition, after a band of narcotics officers burst into her home at 5 a.m. and arrested them for a few prescription pills the cops claimed were in her purse.

“They knocked the door down, guns drawn,” said Moore. “They handcuffed him,” she said of her son, who was 13 at the time. “I kept quiet because I was so angry.”

The drug charge against her son was dropped, and he later got a $15,000 settlement from the city. The charges against Moore were sealed after she pleaded to disorderly conduct, a noncriminal violation.

The supervising officer on her arrest was Andrew Hillery , 43, who has 19 lawsuits against him, resulting in more than $700,000 in payouts.

A series of News articles over the past year showed how the city had been turning a blind eye to potential problem officers by ignoring the evidence of police misconduct contained in the suits, leading the NYPD to create two programs to track and analyze lawsuits, and a new tracking system by city Controller Scott Stringer’s office called “ClaimStat.”

The first ClaimStat report identified Staten Island’s North Shore as a “hot spot” for personal injury complaints against police. Last year, there were 98 lawsuits filed over incidents that happened in the 120th and 121st precincts — a rate of four personal injury claims per 100 crimes.

“Commanding officers should use this data to identify problems within their units and take concrete steps to reduce claims,” said Stringer’s spokesman.

Meanwhile, two programs the NYPD created — the Civil Lawsuit Monitoring Program and Risk Assessment Unit — have reviewed claims against 37 officers, most of whom were signed to narcotics duty.

As a result of the analysis, a committee “has directed that retraining be provided to these members, ranging from the use of force (and) employing tactical communication skills,” said NYPD spokeswoman Kim Royster. She did not say how many of those officers are assigned to the Staten Island narcotics unit.

One Staten Island narcotics sergeant, David Courtien, was sued 16 times before he was promoted to lieutenant in 2012.

Asked at his home earlier this year about the cases, Detective Vincent Orsini, the second-most-sued NYPD officer, named in 21 lawsuits, responded, “I’m not gonna go into it, but you can sue anybody.”

NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis said the amount of times an officer has been sued doesn’t necessarily mean the officer has been accused of any wrongdoing.

He pointed out lawsuits will often name every officer involved in the encounter, regardless of their level of involvement. He said Orsini was often the one wielding the battering ram in narcotics raids, and that in a dozen cases, his role was limited to that.

“Only in nine cases was he actively involved in the investigation,” said Davis.




Ron Howell Jul-27-2014 156 0
For millions of black Americans, Barack Obama's legacy is not going to be Obamacare, nor his decision to move troops out of Iraq, nor what he does about immigration.

No, it will be the image of him as a black father - of him, for example, standing at the White House and declaring, after the 2012 racially charged killing of black teenager Trayvon Martin, "this could have been my son."

For all the accusations that Obama waffles and wavers when it comes to controversial issues affecting African Americans, there is a widespread perception of him as the model of black fatherhood. It is a view of him that I share, and it means a lot to me, because I know in personal ways the difference that the presence, or absence, of a dad can make in a young black man's life.

So much of my writing over the years has been about the disrespect and even viciousness with which police officers treat black and Latino men. The brutality against Eric Garner, who died 10 days ago after a white officer placed him in what seems to have been a chokehold, is just the latest case.

But I have to say - and this isn't easy, because tough love never is - that our collective shortcomings as African-American fathers also cause me great distress. Unlike the beatings, chokings and shootings our black youngsters are too frequently victims of - from the police, yes, but often from other black males - the pain of paternal abandonment is a dull ache in the heart that, in the end, can do as much damage as a bullet.

Just this past Monday, Obama met with dozens of young males at a public school in Washington, D.C. - black ones but also others of color - and spoke with them about the value of fatherhood and its responsibilities.

"If you're African American, there's about a one-in-two chance you grow up without a father in your house - one in two," the President said with somber plaintiveness.

As for me, I don't need data to convince me of the importance of black fatherhood. I have my own family story.

In 1997, I wrote an article for Essence Magazine titled "A Father's Longing," reflecting on the death of my father, a gifted and educated man who fell victim to alcohol and left me and my mother when I was a child, and mom was crippled with polio.

Later in his life, thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous, dad gave up the bottle and, though I never lived with him, we developed a late-in-life father-son relationship, and I shared its joys and pains with readers of Essence.

The reaction was extraordinary, with many black people recognizing me from the photo accompanying the article, and engaging me about the topic.

But the truly stunning result was a phone call I received a year later from a woman in Detroit who identified herself as Linda, the wife of my father's brother, my Uncle Charles, who in the early 1960s had abandoned New York City and his 11 children. We had thought he was dead.

Linda told me that Uncle Charles had died the night before, and that she had known of my relationship to him because she had read the article and had made astute deductions about the familial relationship. But, deferring to Uncle Charles's desires, she had put off calling me until his death.

Now here are the details that rush to the core the story: Of the 11 children (from two households) that Uncle Charles left behind, two were boys - my only male first cousins on my father's side.

The older one, Charles III, nicknamed Tibby, was beaten to death 30 years ago on the streets of Brownsville by a person or persons never identified. His sisters and mother were of course devastated by the unsolved crime, which only intensified the excruciating hurt caused by their father's disappearance decades previously.

Uncle Charles's younger son, Henri, became addicted to heroin, and his whereabouts, if indeed he is alive, are not known to me or any other family members with whom I was able to speak. I had long conversations about ten years ago with Henri's mother, who told me in painful detail how the absconding of the father had devastated Henri in ways that were as emotionally crushing as they were immediate, although the girls were largely able to put themselves on track to productive, professional lives.

Tibby's oldest sister, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Howell Greggs, 70, said she has come to understand profoundly the importance of fatherhood to young men in Brownsville, a community in which she was raised and in which she still lives.

Boys need fathers as role models, said Lizzie, who until her retirement earlier this month had spent 40 years teaching kids in the Brownsville Police Athletic League's Head Start program. "There's so much anger," Lizzie said of young men living around her. She added that the pitiful delinquency of her own dad made her more committed to helping young men understand the importance of being involved in the lives of their offspring. As for her home life, she speaks fondly of her deceased husband, a career military man, and is proud of their four adult children. One of them, a son, I've had conversations with and he is a hard-working and disciplined young man, a role model.

Let's not mince words. The crisis of New York City, and to a large extent of America, is the crisis of the black male. You see it in our schools, on our streets, in our economy, in our prisons.

Obama seems determined to strengthen his male-focused My Brother's Keeper Initiative, and on Monday he announced further investments of millions of dollars. My Brother's Keeper is patterned on New York City's Young Men's Initiative, which was organized three years ago by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Yes, the same Michael Bloomberg who allowed police to stop and frisk hundreds of thousands of innocent black and Latino males annually.)

We should all be grateful for these efforts. Taken together, they suggest a philosophy once articulated by Hillary Clinton - that "it takes a village to raise a child," that if young men of color are to be able to (quite literally) survive, various sectors of society (educators, social service administrators and even entrepreneurs) will have to play respective roles.

As an educator myself, I should be in a special position to help. But consider this: In my five years of teaching journalism at Brooklyn College, I don't believe I've had more than 10 black males among the several hundred students in my classes.

I noted this paucity even at predominantly black Medgar Evers College, where 15 years ago I taught a writing workshop. There were about a dozen students in the class. All were black. But only one was a male. According to U.S. News & World Report's latest college report, the gender breakdown at Medgar Evers College is 73% female and 27% male.

For black males, there is a stark tie-in between the education and criminal justice systems, both of which have been failing them miserably. Speaking to MSNBC on Monday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who grew up in Queens, said that having a father saved him from the horrid fates that befall so many young men of color.

"I grew up in a lower middle class neighborhood in Queens, New York, and I think of all the advantages I had by having a dad there," Holder said. He noted the vast difference in outcomes between him and other young men who did not have it so good. Other "guys who grew up with me on the block" ended up "in fundamentally different places . . . Drug problems. Time in jail," Holder added.

As for me, I survived and accomplished all that I have - Ivy League degrees, comfort in three languages, prize-winning news articles - not because of talents far beyond those of others.


>>--More Black Legal News

Daryl K. Washington Apr-28-2014 574 0
Sadly but real, it appears as though society feels you can treat a black person poorly by simply offering to give them something of value and everything is forgotten. This mindset has to go away otherwise racism and injustices will remain. Whenever I file a civil rights lawsuit the first question the media asks is how much money the family is asking for? My response is always very clear; the family wants JUSTICE and expects for the individual responsible for the act to be held responsible for his/her criminal acts.

On yesterday, 5-10 multimillionaires played a game of basketball despite being made aware that the owner they are earning millions for hates black people, especially black males. By not playing on yesterday they could have sent a major message out and forced the NBA to react immediately but they gave Donald Sterling and the NBA a way out. Let's face it, the Clippers are no candidate to win the NBA Championship this year so this was/is their opportunity to make a change but instead they are showing America that money and a championship is much more important than fighting blatant racism.

I have to admit that I'm truly disappointed in the Los Angeles Clippers. Professional athletes will stage a sit out when they feel they are not being paid enough money but they will continue to play for a racist owner who admitted to not want black people at the game and use the excuse that we are playing for a championship. Will we continue to turn our heads for money?

Many people criticized the football players at Grambling when they staged a protest last year. If those kids lost their scholarships they could probably not afford to attend college but they took the chance because they wanted to take a stand against what they consider poor playing conditions. They had the courage to do something that the Los Angeles Clippers, a group of multimillionaires, are not willing to do. What message are we sending to the World? You can tell millionaires you hate them but they will still work for you as long as they are being paid. Truly a lost opportunity. All money is not good money.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button
Daryl K. Washington Apr-27-2014 623 0
Donald Sterling made comments about Black people that have started a lot of conversation. Many people, including myself, have said that it will place Coach Doc Rivers and the players in an awkward situation but after thinking about it, it will also place White people in an awkward position and here's my opinion why. During the Civil Rights movement there were White people on the front lines and there were many who did not agree with the poor treatment of Black people. They were instrumental in helping with the fight for equal treatment.

Fast forward to today. 95% of the fans at the Clippers games are not Black and the majority are White people. It would be a great show of support if the White fans were as insulted by Donald Sterling's comments as Black people are. The games will go on but wouldn't it be great if the White fans proved to the country that they don't support a racist owner. We know it will not happen but only until everyone voice their dislike of what was said will a true change ever be made.

Donald Sterling's views are shared by so many individuals who will allow our talented Black athletes to attend the large colleges because they earn millions of dollars for the schools but will fight tooth and nails to prevent a young Black kid who may have not scored well on a standardized test from attending.

College athletes are fighting to be paid but I think what should be added to their agenda is the equal treatment of their brothers and sisters who are being denied admission to the same universities they are earning millions of dollars for. The fight should not be for money but for equality. Let’s never allow someone to pay us to keep our views to ourselves. We still have a long way to go. We will never get there unless we ALL come together.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.

Daryl K. Washington Feb-16-2014 851 0
After the Michael Dunn verdict was read many voice their displeasure with the judicial system, rightfully so. However, the killing of our young black men is nothing new. Each time something bad happens we come together as a group for a month or so and then the energy dies down. When the Zimmerman verdict came back there were those who demanded that we stop supporting the state of Florida yet what happened to the follow-up to let us know how effective the efforts were? It reminds me of whenever someone dies. When we run into people we have not seen in years we all make a vow to do better and to make time for each other but after two or three months has past by we are all back to doing the same things.

As a country, we came together after 9/11 but soon thereafter the unity went away. There's so much happening in our communities. I thought the Zimmerman verdict would be our wake up call to do more but our young black men continue to be gunned down at a high rate by Men who don't look anything close to their fathers and most of them get away with it. Just in case you mention the black on black crime, remember that the killer normally ends up in prison.

Just recently, the grand jury failed to indict a North Carolina police officer for the killing of Jonathan Ferrell, a young black male, but after there was a public outcry about the injustice that took place he was eventually indicted. Right here in Dallas, Texas we have black men being killed by white police officers and in a great majority of the cases, the police officers are not indicted and judged by a jury of their peers. Instead, the victim is placed on trial and society has become conditioned to believe that it's okay to kill someone if they have a prior criminal record or considered a menace to society. Well, it's not and it's time that it stops.

We need to be proactive and make sure laws that don't benefit us are changed. I will continue to say this until I can't say this anymore; we have to get out and VOTE during the mid-term elections. We need to make sure the right people are elected and the wrong people are removed from office, irrespective of their race. If the same people are in office (local officials) yet we are having some of the same problems, it's time for change. Vote for someone who wants to make a change. Don't just vote based on race or political affiliation; that's what has gotten us to this point where we are today. We have to be proactive or the next Jordan Davis might be our brother, our son, our nephew, our father or our friend. Let's do it. Get involved or get out of the way!!!!!



Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.


















Daryl K. Washington Nov-26-2013 1132 0
ARE WE DOING ENOUGH FOR THE BLACK COMMUNITIES?: I just finished talking to a mother who lost her son as a result of a police shooting. Hearing this mother talk about her son and how much he loved the holidays was simply heart wrenching. She went on to tell me that she's pleaded for help from our local politicians, pastors, leaders, etc. but no one wants to take her call, especially if the cameras are not rolling. To worsen matters, many of the leaders have put her son on trial and he's dead.

On last week they staged a protest in Dallas and sadly, 95% of the protestors were white. That made me wonder why do people make it in life and fail to reach back to help others? Why do people hear about injustices yet fail to say anything about it other than to say "that's sad!" During the 60's the leaders were individuals (black and white) who had college degrees, had bright futures ahead of them but they risk it all for us to be in the positions we are in today. The sad thing is that many of us believe it's all about us.

We must do more. We have to do more. We have to demand that our politicians and pastors step up to help us fight this battle. It truly takes a team effort. We must hold all of our community leaders accountable. When they ask for your vote, ask them to list ten things they did for the community in the last four years. Ask them how many times have they've attended a rally to show support to a grieving mother or father. We have serious issues and it takes all of us to stop this mess. I'm tired of seeing people who have never fought against a single injustice accept the Martin Luther King drum major for justice award. It's time for change.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
Daryl K. Washington Oct-25-2013 1502 0
I have not said much about this situation because I was hoping it would not get to this point. I will keep this very short because I hope the talks of going forward with a lawsuit is short lived.

For the record, I will say that I was not happy that things transpired the way they did but because it did needed attention was given to the inequities in financial support received by HBCU's. I was initially upset because the thought of canceling a college football game is unheard of. However, if what the players said is true, it's not just about football. If there's proper follow-up to what happened at Grambling, it could benefit all HBCU's and perhaps provide an example for college athletes to follow in their attempts to receive a share of the billion dollar revenue received from college sports.

I understand this may not make sense to everyone but Jackson State suing Grambling is like a Black Greek Letter Organization suing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. because he failed to show up at a fundraiser because an emergency required him to be at a last minute boycott where individuals were seeking equal treatment that would have the potential of benefiting everyone. As much as Grambling has done to benefit the SWAC I'm surprised that Jackson State would consider such drastic means. As a graduate of Grambling State University and a former member of the football team, I feel it's about time that Grambling do what Texas A&M and other schools have done in the past few years; change conferences. There's nothing but upside to it.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com. To receive updates, go to the Black Legal Issues page on Facebook and check the like button.
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