OCTOBER 22, 2019 / NEW YORK, NEW YORK – What began as a routine traffic stop in the Bronx ended with the death of an unarmed man at the hands of the New York City Police Department (NYPD).
Allan Feliz, aged 31 and the father of a 6-month-old child, was shot once in the chest by an NYPD sergeant and later died after receiving emergency medical treatment on the way to Saint Barnabas Hospital.
Now, his family is planning a multimillion dollar lawsuit against the NYPD. The family is also demanding a criminal investigation of the incident.
Robert Vilensky, the family’s attorney from the law firm of Ronemus & Vilensky, LLP, told the New York Post:
“We believe the police officer in this case should be indicted and we’re requesting that the DA investigate and convene a grand jury.”
The Traffic Stop and Death at the Hands of Police
Near Bainbridge Avenue in the Bronx on the afternoon of October 17, 2019, NYPD officers stopped a vehicle driven by Allan Feliz. Officers claimed that Feliz wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, which led them to stop the car. A passenger in the vehicle disputes this claim, stating that the driver was in fact wearing his seatbelt. After running a warrant check on the driver and finding three open warrants, Feliz was instructed to exit the vehicle so that he could be placed under arrest.
A scuffle ensued; officers used physical force and Tasers to attempt to subdue Feliz. Witnesses to the traffic stop suggested that the responding officers did not need to use force in this way and were escalating the encounter unnecessarily. Then, officers claimed that Feliz returned to the vehicle, put the vehicle in gear, and attempted to run over an officer. An NYPD sergeant on the scene drew his service weapon and began to fire at the vehicle, striking Feliz in the chest.
First responders provided life support for Feliz until he could be transported to the hospital. He was pronounced dead on arrival at Saint Barnabas.
Questions Surrounding the Case
As noted, one of the passengers in the vehicle stated that Feliz was wearing his seatbelt when NYPD officers stopped the car. The passenger also claimed that one of the officers pointed his gun at Feliz the entire time of the encounter.
When Feliz was outside the vehicle, officers beat him, including punching and elbowing him in the face – despite Feliz crying out in pain during the encounter. Passersby who witnessed the traffic stop and fight also confirmed that not only was Feliz wearing his seatbelt, but that officers used excessive force during the ensuing scuffle.
Police later claimed that Feliz had given the responding officers false identification. The NYPD also claimed that drugs were found in the vehicle. Neither of these claims have been confirmed, causing Feliz’s surviving family members to push for a formal criminal investigation in the case.
Lawsuit Filed by Family
Family members of Allan Feliz retained the law firm of Ronemus & Vilensky to represent them in a lawsuit against the NYPD. The family is seeking millions of dollars in damages and is pushing the Bronx District Attorney to open a criminal case against the police sergeant who used deadly force to subdue Feliz. Robert Vilensky, the attorney for the family, stated that he and the family believe that police officers in the Bronx have a shoot-to-kill mentality, and that the use of de-escalation techniques and non-lethal force options are not employed routinely. The family of Allan Feliz continues to hold out hope that their questions will finally be answered during the upcoming suit hearings.