Police Brutality Cases Involving Wrongful Death: What to Know

About Ronemus & Vilensky

The attorneys at Ronemus & Vilensky prepare every case as if it were going to trial, whether you go to trial or not. If the insurance company does not offer a fair settlement, we will be prepared to take the case to court.


If you or a loved one has been harmed or even killed by police officers in New York City, you deserve justice. These officers of the law are supposed to serve and protect and being beaten, harassed, discriminated against, or even seriously hurt or killed by one can destroy your sense of safety and protection. Police brutality lawyers are here to help you get the justice you deserve.

Most police officers are very trustworthy and often put their lives on the line to save lives and protect the community from many different threats. However, there are a few New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers who have actually been caught on camera using excessive force, threatening people, coercing confessions, shooting people, and even misusing police canines. These are all examples of police brutality, and NYC alone has spent in excess of $500 million to settle this type of civil cases, which have been brought against the NYPD in the last five years.

Just like every other citizen, NYPD officers are not above the law. It can be scary to come forward and speak out against police abuse and brutality, but it is also necessary so that we are able to create a safer place for all New Yorkers. When police officers overstep their bounds and abuse their authority, they must be held accountable in the eyes of the law, the police department, and their victims. You will want and need an experienced wrongful death lawyer who can help you navigate the law surrounding this sensitive and complex topic.

Examples of excessive force and police brutality:

  • Racial profiling
  • False arrest
  • False imprisonment
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Harassment
  • Malicious prosecution
  • Surveillance abuse
  • Assault
  • Verbal attacks
  • Abuse of legal power
  • Corruption and bribes
  • Wrongful death

What Is Wrongful Death?

Legal Dictionary defines wrongful death as “The taking of the life of an individual resulting from the willful or negligent act of another person or persons.” This mean that the victim’s death was often unjust or preventable, which makes this type of loss even harder to bear.

Every state has their own statutes regarding wrongful death, most of which provide for recovery by the surviving spouse, next of kin, or their children. We know it can be incredibly difficult to think about lawsuits and claims right after a loved one has passed, it is important to contact an NYPD brutality attorney as soon as possible, so the case is not delayed. Over time, evidence and witnesses can be harder to locate, examine, and question, records can be misplaced or lost, and memories can become hazy. There are also statutes of limitations to consider, which in New York is two years from the date of the death. Other states have longer or shorter statutes of limitations.  

A Few Facts about Police Brutality:

  • More than 1000 people were killed by police in 2016 alone. The Counted is a database by The Guardian which keeps a running count of people in the U.S. killed by police officers, and also provides demographic information.
  • Excessive force is the most common type of police officers abusing their position of authority and crossing into abuse and misconduct.
  • For every 1,000 people killed by police, only one officer is convicted of a crime.
  • Black Americans are more than two times as likely to be unarmed when killed during police encounters than whites. Native Americans are just as likely as Black Americans to be the victims of police misconduct.

At Ronemus & Vilensky, we are compassionate to your situation and passionate about bringing every NYPD officer to justice when these types of preventable deaths occur. In police shooting cases, your attorney can file a suit on behalf of the deceased and their loved ones, to help you get compensation for your pain, though we understand it will not heal your heart. While no amount of money could replace your loss, we can at least help you recover from the financial burden of medical bills, funeral expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

Two Police Brutality Cases We Have Won:

  • We won a $2,300,000.00 verdict for our client, a 20 year old male, who was working on his car in a parking lot in the Bronx when several police cars came up to him. Officers got out of their vehicles with their guns drawn, and when our client got out of his car with his hands up, the officers threw him to the ground and proceeded to punch and kick him repeatedly. He was then arrested, before being released later that night. Our client was taken to the ER, where he was diagnosed and treated for back injuries, including a herniated disc in his lumbar spine. Following the assault, Williams began experiencing difficulty with memory and his ability to think clearly. Eventually he lost his job as a car mechanic because of his inability to function in his job. He was diagnosed by a neurologist with post-concussion syndrome from a traumatic brain injury and also with PTSD. The police denied kicking and punching him, but the jury saw surveillance video showing what really happened, and awarded our client $2.3 million.
  • We won a $1,000,000 settlement for our client, who was falsely arrested for rape in 2003. He and 2 other men were picked out of a book of photos by a 13 year old girl who claimed that her cousin had taken her to an apartment, where she raped by 3 men. When questioned, the cousin said she had been in the hospital at that time and could not have taken the other girl anywhere. The detective questioning her told the cousin that he would arrest her unless she admitted to taking the alleged rape victim to the apartment. Fearing for her safety, she told the cop what he wanted to hear. Our client continued to maintain his innocence for 2 years, submitting to DNA tests, before all charges were dropped when the girl’s story was confirmed as a lie. We sued the police department for false arrest, malicious prosecution and civil rights claims. All of the assistant district attorneys admitted that they would not have prosecuted the case had they known about the detective’s actions, and in the end our New York City false arrest attorneys and secured a $1 million settlement for our client.

NYPD killings are always going to be difficult and distressing and the attorneys at Ronemus & Vilensky want to take one worry off of your plate so that you can focus on being with your loved ones and begin to heal. Let us work on your behalf to bring negligent killers to justice so it happens less in the future. Contact us today for a free consultation.