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Wednesday, May 22, 2024 | Back issues
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Man Claims NYPD|Battered & Defamed Him

MANHATTAN (CN) - New York City police looking for Philip Seymour Hoffman's heroin dealer battered, bruised, wrongfully jailed and defamed a man who was merely visiting a friend, the man claims in court.

Thomas Cushman sued New York City and its Police Department on Friday in New York County Supreme Court.

Hoffman died of a heroin overdose on Feb 4. Cushman claims that two days later he went to visit a friend, Robert Vineberg, at Vineberg's Mott Street apartment.

Just minutes later, he says, the NYPD broke down Vineberg's door with a battering ram, slammed into Cushman with their shields, kicked him, hit him and handcuffed him.

He had nothing to do with Hoffman's death, Cushman says, nor did he resist arrest in any way. Nonetheless, he says, though he was "in pain and with blood pouring from his eye," the cops jailed him overnight with no medical attention.

They also stuck him in a "perp walk" in front of news media and leaked his name to the media, Cushman says, which led to "numerous articles" that "maligned Cushman as being associated with Hoffman's death and/or the sale and use of heroin."

The district attorney declined to prosecute him.

He seeks damages for wrongful arrest and imprisonment, assault, defamation, personal injuries and negligence.

He is represented by Ronald Rubinstein, with Rubinstein & Corozzo.

Vineberg, who also was arrested on Feb. 4, pleaded guilty to drug possession and was sentenced to 25 days of community service, 5 years probation and a drug treatment program.

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