May 31 2008 Yonkers,
A 44-year-old home health aide has filed a $11.3 million federal civil rights lawsuit against Yonkers police, claiming she was knocked unconscious by an officer who slammed her to the ground after a restaurant melee.
The takedown, captured on surveillance video at La Fonda restaurant on March 3, 2007, left Irma Marquez of Yonkers hospitalized with a fractured jaw, concussion, two black eyes and facial lacerations along with other bruising, according to her lawyers.
She was accosted by police when she leaned over to get a better view of the medical assistance being provided to her niece, who had been struck by someone else at the restaurant, the lawyers claim in a complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court against 10 Yonkers police officers, the Police Department and the city.
The lawsuit identifies Officer Wayne Simoes as the one who slammed her down.
"The videotape, which was reviewed by the Westchester County District Attorney's Office, clearly demonstrates the officer lifting Ms. Marquez off her feet and driving her face first into the ceramic tile floor of the restaurant where the incident occurred," the lawyers said in a release. "District Attorney Janet DiFiore proceeded with the unjust prosecution of the victim of this brutal attack rather than charge the perpetrating officer."
Marquez was handcuffed and charged with obstruction of governmental administration and disorderly conduct. On May 9, a jury acquitted her of all charges, the lawyers said.
"If anyone other than a police officer was caught on tape doing what Officer Simoes did to Irma Marquez, they would have rightfully been arrested and prosecuted," said Gary Certain, an attorney represented Marquez. "This case suggests that Janet DiFiore's office may not be capable of honestly prosecuting egregious police misconduct."
Responding to the suit, DiFiore said her office was aware of the alleged incident, adding, "I have commenced an internal inquiry as to how this matter was handled by the Office of the District Attorney, and I have reassigned personnel pending completion of the inquiry."
David Simpson, spokesman for Yonkers Mayor Phil Amicone, said the case is one of several the city has shared with federal investigators looking into police brutality allegations.
"The facts surrounding Ms. Marquez's arrest, which occurred more than a year ago, were included in the information that has already been shared with the (U.S.) Department of Justice," he said yesterday. "While the city does not comment on pending litigation, it is clear that Ms. Marquez's attorneys have chosen to share only selective facts of the case with the press."
Tags: unconscious, brutality suit, hospitalized, injured, wounded, fractured jaw, caught, cam, tape, security, lawsuit, surveillance, $11.3 million, cctv, body slam, police, officer, cop, restaurant, melee
Location: Yonkers, New York, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved, featured
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