Police Misconduct

A recent Manhattan federal lawsuit, An v. City of New York, SDNY 16-cv-05381, challeng[es] the constitutionality of the New York City Police Department’s [] widespread practice and custom of interfering with and deterring the exercise of the First Amendment right of individuals to film, photograph, videotape, or otherwise record[] NYPD officers performing their official duties in public…

Read More First Amendment Lawsuit Challenges NYPD Retaliation for Recording Officers
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Lawyers in general, and plaintiffs’ lawyers in particular, serve a vital societal function. Their work has resulted in, to name just a few examples, the proliferation of civil rights, safer products, and safer business practices in general. As a plaintiffs’ lawyer, I am proud to be a part of, and contribute to, that process. Yet, plaintiffs’…

Read More Are All Lawyers Liars?
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The Second Circuit’s decision in Shamir v. City of New York, No. 14-3606, 2015 WL 6214708 (2d Cir. Oct. 22, 2015) (Newman, Walker, Jacobs) is instructive on pleading police misconduct cases – namely, claims for excessive force. This case arises from plaintiff’s arrest after putting a sleeping bag on the ground while attending an Occupy Wall Street…

Read More Excessive Force/Tight Handcuffing Claim Sufficiently Alleged
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In Uzoukwu v. City of New York, No. 13-3483-CV, 2015 WL 6742739 (2d Cir. Nov. 5, 2015), a false arrest/excessive force case, the Second Circuit vacated a judgment entered following a jury verdict for defendants. The facts, briefly: Plaintiff was sitting on a park bench near a playground. Park rules prohibited adults unaccompanied by children…

Read More Second Circuit Revives False Arrest Case Following Improper Jury Instruction on “Obstruction of Governmental Administration”
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In Pittman v. Incorporated Village of Hempstead, the Eastern District of New York held that plaintiff’s excessive force claim survived summary judgment. The “Fourth Amendment protects individuals from the government’s use of excessive force when detaining or arresting individuals. … A police officer’s use of force is excessive in violation of the Fourth Amendment[] if it…

Read More Injury to Arrestee’s Head and Ear Results in Denial of Summary Judgment to Officer on Excessive Force Claim
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Yesterday a Brooklyn federal jury awarded (verdict sheet here) plaintiff Kevin Jarman $510,000 ($480,000 compensatory, $30,000 punitive) in damages arising from alleged excessive force during an arrest for shoplifting from a Path Mark store. Plaintiff alleged in his complaint that after he was handcuffed, the arresting officer “yanked very violently on the handcuffs” which caused plaintiff to lose…

Read More Jury Awards $510,000 to Man Whose Ankle Was Broken By Police
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In O’Hara v. City of New York et al. (Summary Order dated June 18, 2014), the Second Circuit upheld a jury’s verdict that defendant police officer (McAvoy) used excessive force in arresting plaintiff (O’Hara) in violation of the Fourth Amendment (asserted through 42 USC 1983) and committed state-law battery. It held: [I]f we assume, as…

Read More Second Circuit Upholds Jury Verdict that Repeatedly Punching Unarmed, Non-Menacing Teenager is Excessive Force
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In Betts v. Shearman et al, decided May 2, 2014, the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff’s claims for false arrest and malicious prosecution arising from his wife’s an encounter in which, he claims, his wife falsely accused him of assaulting her. Plaintiff alleged the following: On January 20, 2011 at approximately 11:30 p.m., while…

Read More Complaining Victim’s Allegedly False Accusation of Assault Insufficient to Establish False Arrest Claim
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Below is the complaint filed on April 15, 2014 against the City of New York and several “John Doe” police officers by Theodora Ray, who is one of the bystanders shot by the NYPD during the botched September 14, 2013 attempt to apprehend an (unarmed) Glenn Broadnax. (I previously wrote about a similar suit, arising from a…

Read More Lawsuit by Pedestrian Shot During NYPD’s Botched Apprehension of Unarmed Man
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