The New York Personal Injury Blog

Judge Raffaele, Is It Time To Reconsider an Excessive Force Lawsuit?

Do you remember this case? A judge calls 9-1-1 to protect the cops from an unruly crowd and gets karate-chopped in the throat by the on-scene cops as a reward? Yeah, that was a bad day for him.

At the time, Judge Thomas D. Raffaele stated:

"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."

Yep. Sorry, Judge. But that's not happening, according to The New York Times.

The District Attorney's office released a statement indicating that they didn't feel that there was enough evidence to prosecute the claims beyond a reasonable doubt and that they had conducted a thorough investigation.

Judge Raffaele isn't too happy about the decision. He told the Times that he felt that the D.A. didn't put full effort into the investigation and that they failed to initially interview the witnesses provided.

He also stated about the cops involved:

"To be in a situation where somebody smashes you in the neck and just walks away from it ... it's dangerous ... because officers end up feeling that they can do anything and that there will be no consequences."

True indeed, Judge. And since the D.A. is refusing to do anything about it, we're curious to see if this case will go civil. Previously, when asked if a lawsuit was planned, he stated, "At this point, no, I don't." But he certainly could.

Those who have had their rights violated by police misconduct can sue the NYPD and the officer under a Section 1983 claim. The lawsuit would allege that the victim's constitutional rights were violated by the use of excessive force (or by false arrest, malicious prosecution, or other misconduct.)

Based on the facts reported so far, and considering that Justice Thomas Raffaele was an innocent bystander calling 9-1-1 to protect the cops, there shouldn't have been any force necessary whatsoever.

One does wonder if there will be any other ramifications from this case. The judge is a family court judge, so unless the officers are involved in a domestic dispute, it probably won't cost them. However, if he has other friends in the judiciary, the alleged half-hearted investigation by the D.A. and the excessive force by the cop could hurt their credibility next time they are in court.

Related Resources: