In the United States, the men and women of law enforcement agencies are sworn to protect and serve communities of every size and type. By and large, these highly-trained professionals conduct themselves with integrity and duty to the citizens of their communities.
Unfortunately, a growing number of deadly incidents, such as Allan Feliz, whose family is filing a $350 Million lawsuit against the NYPD for his death, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, has New York City and the nation looking closer at police brutality and systemic racism.
Of late, the media has had more coverage of unlawful arrests, detainment, and brutality at the hands of police. These high-profile deaths have negatively influenced the public’s perception of law enforcement officials. Police brutality is an all-too-real concern for many people, especially people of color. Recent events have only reinforced the point that sweeping reforms within police departments cannot come too soon.
Police Brutality in New York City
In New York City, heavy-handed tactics by police have plagued the city for decades. Beginning in the late 1960s and reaching a height in the early 2000s, officers of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) employed “stop and frisk” procedures that disproportionately targeted black and Latino individuals. These tactics often led to claims of unlawful detainment or police brutality.
Aside from Allen Feliz’s murder in 2019, Two other recent events have highlighted the problem of police brutality on city streets in New York and in cities across the country. In 2014, an NYPD officer placed a chokehold on unarmed Black man Eric Garner, who was accused of selling cigarettes without tax stamps. Mr. Garner died as a result of the officer’s actions.
In May 2020, George Floyd Jr. was detained by police in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. An arresting officer knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes; despite pleas for help, Floyd died from asphyxiation resulting directly from the officer’s actions.
Protests in the Wake of COVID-19
The death of George Floyd as a result of police brutality set off a national outcry for police reform. Protests were also quickly organized to highlight the danger of police brutality on American citizens. In Mr. Floyd’s case, protests spread to dozens of cities in the U.S. and the world. These protests were largely peaceful, yet responding riot-control police were witnessed by news media and by legal observers using dangerous and potentially deadly tactics – including the use of rubber bullets, tear gas, clubs, and sonic devices — to break up protesters.
In NYC, peaceful protesters were the targets of police brutality, wrongful arrest, and harassment at the hands of NYPD officers. Several protesters were hospitalized as a direct result of injuries sustained in encounters with police.
Cities were already reeling from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Particularly NYC, who saw NYCHA residents devastated by the virus. As many cities began to slowly relax restrictions, the death of George Floyd by police action touched off a firestorm of anger by people who no longer believed that law enforcement served and protected their communities.
What to Do if You Are the Victim of Police Brutality in New York
People across the country and around the world are outraged at the actions of a handful of police officers who have violated their oaths to protect and serve communities. Protesting these actions is a natural and valid way of showing support for police reforms.
Unfortunately, even peaceful protesters have been caught up in aggressive and dangerous dispersal tactics used by police. It is not only protesters who are at risk – NYPD police brutality can occur anywhere, and at any time.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of false arrest, police brutality, or mistreatment by police officers in New York City, take steps these to preserve your rights:
- First, seek medical attention immediately for any injuries you may have received.
- Next, document all injuries and the circumstances that led up to the police brutality encounter in as much detail as possible.
- Collect the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses to the incident. Video evidence and eyewitness testimony may be used in a legal claim against the police.
Contact an Attorney
Finally, call a qualified wrongful arrest or trusted NYC police brutality lawyer. The Law Offices of Ronemus & Vilensky, LLP have decades of experience in representing victims, including those injured by police brutality. You have specific rights, and may be eligible for significant financial compensation for your injuries.
Ronemus & Vilensky will help you file claims, fight for your rights, and secure justice on your behalf, just as he has done for the family of Allen Feliz and other victims of civil rights violations in NYC.