“I do feel that it’s important for this person to be disciplined. I don’t know if he should be an officer or not — what he was doing was so violent.”
New York Supreme Court Justice Thomas D. Raffaele was strolling along in Queens when he came across a chaotic scene. Police officers had a shirtless man cuffed and on his stomach. A crowd was slowly encroaching upon the officers and Justice Raffaele felt that it was about to get out of hand.
So, he did the reasonable thing. He called 9-1-1, reports The New York Times.
Whether it was that, or merely his presence that offended the officer in question is unknown. What is known, and what is important, is that the officer then turned his sights on the Judge, who was obviously not wearing his black robe in the streets.
Justice Raffaele said that the officer approached him and, using a tactic taught in military combat training, delivered a blow to his throat with the upper edge of his hand.
The judge was too stunned and in too much pain to tell for certain if any other witnesses were attacked by the cop, though he believes one or two were.
His complaint to the supervising sergeant on scene was essentially ignored. He then contacted the department and made another complaint, this time to Internal Affairs.
Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne stated, "in this instance, [Internal Affairs] is reviewing the complaint because it was brought to its attention by the judge, not because of the level of injury."
Wait, so they give preferential treatment to public figures? Shocking.
As for the judge, he was fine. He went to the hospital and had to have a scope put down his throat, but no damage was found.
When asked if he planned to sue, he said, "At this point, no, I don't."
However, if he does decide to, he certainly has an excessive force case. For those who have had their rights violated by police misconduct, a Section 1983 action is usually the civil remedy. The lawsuit alleges that the victim's constitutional rights were violated by the use of excessive force, by a false arrest, by malicious prosecution, or other misconduct.
For Justice Thomas Raffaele, no force was necessary. He was an innocent bystander, calling 9-1-1 to protect the cops. There has been no indication of any behavior on his part to warrant any physical contact, let alone a disabling blow to the throat. So yeah, an excessive force case shouldn't be too difficult to pursue.
- Find a New York Personal Injury Attorney (FindLaw)
- Family of Kid Shot 90 Times by LAPD is Suing for $120 Mill (FindLaw's Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog)
- Cops Make It Rain Lead on Man Who Allegedly Shot Sister; Excessive? (FindLaw's New York Personal Injury Law Blog)
- What procedures must the police follow while making an arrest? (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- NYPD Internal Affairs probing police brutality claim from State Supreme Court judge (New York Daily News)