The cops behind the claim of excessive force used on the former “director of public affairs for the office of public advocate” (what a title) apparently understood badges about as well as this guy. According to the New York Daily News, the cops’ alleged overly violent arrest is about to become the subject of a lawsuit against the city. The officers involved were previously disciplined by the department after an internal affairs investigation verified the excessive force complaints.
According to the Daily News, the former city aide, Kirsten John Foy, and a city councilman, Jumaane D. Williams, were participants in last year’s West Indian parade. An officer along the parade route gave them permission to cross a “frozen zone”. Unfortunately, that permission was not communicated to other officers in the area.
Even further, both Williams and Foy were wearing "VIP credentials" from the parade and presented their city badges and identification when confronted by the other officers.
According to claims, they were then violently arrested. Originally, the officers stated that someone in the crowd punched one of the officers, which necessitated using more force to control the crowd. A bystander caught the entire arrest of Foy on camera and posted the video to YouTube. The force of the arrest injured Foy so badly that he had to have surgery on a fractured kneecap and torn ligament. He also will have to undergo an additional operation to repair his damaged rotator cuff.
Foy hopes that the lawsuit will bring about more than individual compensation. "This isn't just about what happened to me," Foy told the Daily News. "It happens thousands of times daily to Latino and African-American men who don't have a high profile like me to stand up and say something about it. The ultimate bottom line will be a change in policy and a change in police behavior."
We can only hope. After all, if that much force was used on someone with credentials and a badge, imagine what happens to those without a political office, especially when cameras aren't around.
Police are allowed to use reasonable force to protect themselves and disperse an illegally assembled crowd, but the video is damning. The internal affairs investigation that verified that the force was, in fact, excessive and the police commissioner's apology also reflect positively on the merits of this suit.
As for long-term change, don't hold your breath. If the beating of a judge and the other high profile screw-ups haven't fixed things yet, it's probably going to take more than another individual lawsuit to affect change.
- Consult a New York Personal Injury Attorney (FindLaw)
- Ex-City Official Suing NYPD Over West Indian Day Parade Run-In (New York Magazine)
- NY Times Photog Stolarik Abused for Third Time by NYPD (FindLaw's New York Personal Injury Law Blog)
- Police Misconduct and Civil Rights (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)