Student Sues Trigger-Happy NYC Cops
MANHATTAN (CN) - New York City police shot 46 times into a Harlem crowd to break up a fight between two men, wounding an innocent college student, and when an officer saw him bleeding from the gunshot wound, the cop told him to "Get the f-k out of here," the student says in a $7 million federal complaint.
Antoine Brown says he attended the annual block party on Lenox Avenue near 144th Street on Aug. 8, 2010. Around 3 a.m., two men he did not know got into a fist fight that prompted a call to the police.
New York's Finest responded "by shooting an astounding forty-six bullets into a crowd of over 150 people," Brown says in his complaint. He says he "did not know the men, did not know why they were fighting, and did not participate in the fight. Rather, Mr. Brown was just an innocent bystander talking to a friend when he was shot by one of the barrage of bullets fired by the defendant police officers."
Brown was shot at least once, he says.
"Upon being shot, plaintiff made his way to a nearby community center, where a police officer approached plaintiff, told him to get on the ground, and asked him what had happened," the complaint states. "The police officer next told plaintiff, who was bleeding from the gunshot wound, to 'Get the f--k out of here.'" (Obscenity elided in complaint.)
Brown says that "no one from the New York Police Department attempted to intervene to stop the excessive force to protect the vulnerable crowd of innocent bystanders."
Since the shooting, Brown says he has suffered from psychological symptoms that are ameliorated only when he's in the secure environment of his college in upstate New York.
"However, his symptoms are debilitating when he returns 'home' to New York City," he says.
As a result, Brown says, he returns home to Bronx only sporadically and only "when the school was closed and he had nowhere else to go."
Throughout this summer, Brown says, he's been able to leave his apartment only 17 times, including two trips to see his attorney and one to testify at a hearing requested by the city.
In the past 11 weeks, Brown says, he's ventured out at night only once, to have dinner with his brothers.
"Plaintiff, because he is virtually confined to his apartment in the Brown, has had to give up on his dream of becoming a New York City school teacher," Brown says. He says mother taught public school in the Bronx for more than 20 years.
He seeks $2 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages for excessive force, failure to protect, negligence and violations of his civil and constitutional rights.
The defendants are the City of New York and John Doe police officers 1-4.
Brown is represented by Mark A. Marino.