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Sunday, July 14, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

NY Family Gets $2M for Death in Police Custody

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) - A Long Island police department will pay $2.5 million to the family of a sickly bipolar man who died when denied his medication in custody.

Danielle McDonnell said in her August 2011 complaint that Suffolk County police used excessive force while arresting her husband, Daniel McDonnell, that May. The couple's minor son, Devon, was also named as a plaintiff.

Police had allegedly arrested Daniel because a neighbor complained that he violated a protection order by driving too closely to him as he entered his driveway.

Danielle says her father-in-law warned the officers that Daniel had bipolar disorder and a heart condition.

When her mother-in-law went to the precinct and gave Daniel's medication to an officer, the officer refused to give them to Daniel, according to the complaint.

The officer also allegedly assured Daniel's mother that Daniel would be taken to an emergency room if any problem arose.

But police arrived at the McDonnells' house the next day to announce that Daniel had died of a heart attack the night before, according to the complaint.

Danielle says she had been waiting at the precinct all night without being told of her husband's death.

She said he was placed in a holding cell alone at the precinct in West Babylon, N.Y.

The widow and child's $50 million complaint went to trial for two days before the parties reached a $2.5 million settlement that U.S. District Judge William Kuntz approved Wednesday.

Suffolk County police did not return a request for comment Friday afternoon.

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