Once again, it was the tape.
The New York Police Department wanted a Bronx grand jury to return an indictment against a 19-year-old male for what was alleged to be an assault on two police officers and an attempt to take one of their guns on a November evening last year.
Instead, and after watching a videotape of the altercation between the young man and the officers that was recorded by an acquaintance and shot through the man’s apartment window, the grand jury dismissed the case.
And now, with the traction provided by the tape that the police department did not know existed and certainly wishes had never been recorded, the exonerated man’s attorney filed a civil rights lawsuit earlier this month in a federal district court.
The complaint seeks damages from the city for what it describes as the “brutal and sadistic” beating the officers administered the young man in his own home, without probable cause. The man says he was not resisting arrest, which was the officers’ stated rationale for entering his home.
“They just started grabbing me, started hitting me,” he told reporters from the New York Times in a recent interview.
Following the incident, the man was taken to a local hospital, where he was noted to have “blunt head injury” and additional injuries to his nose and face.
The man’s attorney, who calls the video “shocking,” says that it “revealed that the police did not tell the truth and that they wanted to put an innocent man in jail, potentially for many years.”
The attorney adds that, but for the tape, that outcome would likely have occurred.
Source: New York Times, “Video of police encounter may play lead role in lawsuit,” Benjamin Weiser and Randy Leonard, Sept. 10, 2012