CCTV:A federal civil rights lawsuit was filed this week against a Yonkers police officer who arrested a 44-year-old home health aide after having allegedly beaten her unconscious.
A suburban New York police officer was freed on $300,000 bail after being charged with using excessive force against a woman at a restaurant.
Yonkers Officer Wayne Simoes appeared Friday in U.S. District Court in White Plains. The 38-year-old officer was accused of violating the civil rights of Irma Marquez in March 2007.
Michael J. Garcia, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Mark J. Mershon, Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced Friday that the officer was charged in a criminal complaint with violating the civil rights of Marquez by using excessive force against her, resulting in bodily injury.
Federal prosecutors said several officers responded to a call to assist an injured person at the restaurant.
They said Marquez was leaning over the injured person when an officer moved her out of the way. They said Simoes then grabbed her around the waist from behind, lifted her into the air and threw her on the floor, face down, before handcuffing her.
The violent attack, captured on surveillance video, resulted in the hospitalization of Marquez with a fractured jaw, concussion, two black eyes and facial lacerations, as well as bruises and swelling over her neck, torso and numerous other parts of her body, according to the complaint.
The videotape, which was reviewed by the Westchester County District Attorney Office’s, clearly demonstrates the officer lifting Marquez off her feet and driving her face first into the ceramic tile floor of the restaurant where the incident occurred, the complaint said.
Marquez was accosted by police when she leaned over to get a better view of the medical assistance being provided to her niece who was earlier rendered unconscious when struck by another assailant while patronizing the La Fonda Restaurant at 57 Palisade Avenue, Yonkers, N.Y., on March 3, 2007, according to the complaint.
The complaint said that Simoes slammed Marquez to the floor, then handcuffed and charged the unconscious and seriously injured woman with obstruction of governmental administration and disorderly conduct. On May 9, 2007, a jury acquitted Marquez of all charges.
In a statement, the Yonkers Police Department said that Simoes was placed on modified duty until further review of the incident.
According to the statement, "Commissioner Hartnett has directed the Internal Affairs Division to reopen the investigation to the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident. Due to the fact that this is an ongoing investigation, the Yonkers Police Department will not be commenting any further on it and all future inquiries should be made to the United States Attorneys Office."
“If anyone other than a police officer was caught on tape doing what Officer Simoes did to Irma Marques they would have rightfully been arrested and prosecuted,” said Gary T. Certain, Esq., of Certain & Zilberg, PLLC, who represents Marquez.
Certain, who represented Marquez in the criminal case and filed the federal lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, added, “This case suggests that Janet DiFiore’s office may not be capable of honestly prosecuting egregious police misconduct.”
The complaint charges Simoes with violating of federal civil rights laws, which make it a crime to willfully deprive a person of rights secured and protected by the Constitution of the United States.
If convicted, Simoes could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
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