New York Post Under Fire After Courthouse Scuffle

MANHATTAN (CN) – On the heels of Second Circuit redemption, a convicted embezzler refiled claims Wednesday against the New York Post and a photographer he says used a camera to bludgeon him.

Represented by the DeMarco Law Firm for the case in Manhattan Supreme Court, Ziming Shen has been sparring with the New York press since his arrest in 2011 on charges that he defrauded a school lunch program through a Red Apple chain of preschools that Shen operated with his wife.

In connection to those charges, which concluded with a $5.2 million judgment against Shen after his guilty plea, Shen had been leaving the federal courthouse in Brooklyn on Sept. 16, 2011, when he treated photographers to a display of punching and kicking gestures.

Though it is undisputed that none of these movements made contact, Shen became entangled with Post photographer Daniel Shapiro further down the sidewalk.

One eyewitness claimed that Shapiro had been the aggressor in the afternoon fracas, but it was Shen who was charged with assaulting Shapiro.

In late 2014, after the assault charges against him were dismissed, the Chinese-American Shen brought a federal complaint against Shapiro and the New York Police Department, claiming that Shapiro called him  a “chink bastard” and that police falsely arrested him.

Though the trial court dismissed Shen’s claims, a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit offered Shen a lifeline in February, breathing new life into Shen’s malicious prosecution claim against Shapiro.

That claim relied on state law, however, and the U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest opted to decline supplemental jurisdiction.

Shen says in his refiling in Manhattan Supreme Court that the Post and Shapiro should pay him $8 million in damages, claiming that Shapiro “goaded [him] into a confrontation” and “pummeled [him] with racial animus.”

“This disturbing incident was compounded by the defendant’s use of his heavy metal camera as a blunt instrument to strike the plaintiff, and defendant’s use of his camera cord to strangle the plaintiff after he had thrown plaintiff to the ground, fracturing plaintiff’s shoulder,” the coxmplaint states.

Shen says he was barely conscious when Shapiro branded him the instigator to responding officers. He denies that he was responsible for the bloody nose that Shapiro got in the melee and says video surveillance backs up his claims

It is also Shen’s claim that Shapiro’s behavior fits a pattern among Post photographers.

“Shapiro … in the past has engaged in conduct that is intended to provoke a response by the subject or person he is photographing in order to obtain a reaction from the subject that he can capture in photographs and that defendant NY Post can then print in it newspapers and in other media formats,” the complaint states.

In addition to claiming that Shapiro called him a “chink bastard,” Shen says a fellow Post photographer used a similar taunt in December 2011, following him closely after leaving the court, calling him a “chink” and telling him to “come on, hit me, do it!”

A New York Post spokeswoman did not immediately return an email or phone call seeking comment.

In 2015, Shen sued the New York Daily News over its description of his “ungraceful kung fu moves” when the altercation with Shapiro went down.

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