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Family to File Police Brutality Suit Against the NYPD

By Amy Sara Clark | July 2, 2011

Franklin Ave. Family to File Police Brutality Suit Against the NYPD. Claim oldest son was beaten and relatives were hit with pepper spray when they tried to intervene
Five members of a Crown Heights family have filed civilian complaints against the NYPD, saying cops beat a 32-year-old man until he was unconscious and pepper sprayed four other family members who tried to intervene.

The family has hired an attorney and is planning to file a civil suit against cops in a few weeks, said their lawyer Alex Umansky.

NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said that “the man pushed an officer in the face” and officers were forced to use the pepper spray to subdue those who resisted being handcuffed.

He added that seven cops were injured “while attempting to make valid arrests” and that four people, three members of the Pierre Family and one neighbor, were taken into custody during the incident and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

The family told their version of the events at a meeting of the 77th Precinct Community Council on June 13.

From left, Greshwin Pierre with her children, Leon Pierre Jr., 32, and Shaquana Pierre, 27, at the June 13 77th Precinct Community Council Meeting. Credit Amy Sara Clark

The Pierre family tells their story at the June 13 77th Precinct Community Council Meeting. Credit Amy Sara Clark

The family's older daughter, Shaquana Pierre, 27, said she was standing on Franklin Avenue between Prospect and Park places across the street from her home at about 6:30 p.m. when she threw a piece of a pizza crust on the ground “to feed the birds.”

She said a nearby police officer cursed at her and told her to pick it up. She refused and he asked her to show some identification. When she said she didn’t have any on her, the officer grabbed her wrist, and when she tried to pull away, two cops picked her up and attempted to throw her on the ground, she said.

A photo of police during the May 10 incident, according to the Pierre family. Credit Courtesy of the Pierre Family

Her brother, Leon Pierre Jr., 32, said that when he tried to intervene, "like any brother would do," and asked the cops what was going on, about 10 to 12 police officers began hitting him with clubs and kicking and punching him. He said he was also hit with pepper spray.

A photo of police during the May 10 incident, according to the Pierre family. Credit Courtesy of the Pierre Family

Shauquana’s, younger sister, mother and father also tried to step in and were all sprayed. Shaquana, her brother and her father were arrested and the father, Leon Pierre Sr. said he was locked in a cell for three hours without being allowed to wash the noxious fumes out of his eyes.

“One of the officers maced my husband in the face, I was maced, my daughter was maced just for asking what is going on,” said Shauquana’s mother, Greshwin Pierre, at the meeting. “I have lived in the community 45 years I have never seen anything like this.”

All five family members, plus three bystanders—including an 11-year-old girl—filed police brutality complaints with the Civilian Complaint Review Board in May and Umansky said he plans to file the civil suit on behalf of the family in about two weeks.

“This is just gross and egregious police misconduct,” Umansky said. “There is absolutely no reason for so many officers to be on the street for a piece of pizza crust that was thrown.”

Area officials said no one should rush to judgment until the incident is investigated and all sides are heard.

“There should be investigation, the allegations were pretty serious and disturbing,” said Councilwoman Letitia James, D-Prospect Heights.

“But at the end of the day, the vast majority of officers patrol the community with respect and with dignity and just as in all things—including politics—there are some bad apples and I’m confident that their complaint will be thoroughly investigated.”

Added: Jul-5-2011 Occurred On: Jul-2-2011
By: VicRoque
Regional News, Other
Tags:, cop block, Injustice everwhere, NYPD, Crime, Mace, Pepper Gas, and Police Brutality
Location: New York, New York, United States (load item map)
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