NYPD Sued in Good Samaritan Death

     BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CN) – New York City police officers shot and killed a good Samaritan coming to the aid of his neighbor, then falsified their reports to try to cover up their grave mistake, the victim’s son claims.
     In a complaint filed on Tuesday, Rafael Laureano, Jr. says his father was shot and killed on Sept. 29, 2014, by the unidentified police officers who responded to a 911 call from non-party Kathy Russo, a Brooklyn woman being attacked by her ex-boyfriend.
     Prior to calling the police, Russo called Rafael Laureano, Sr., her friend and a former bodybuilder, and asked him to subdue the boyfriend, Francisco Carvajal, who had allegedly forced his way into her apartment and was attacking her with a knife, the complaint says.
     By the time police arrived, Laureano was outside Russo’s Sheepshead Bay apartment and Carvajal had locked the apartment door. According to the complaint, responding police asked Laureano, a 51 year old father of four, to help break down Russo’s door.
     Press accounts vary on what transpired next. The most consistent detail is that as the police and Laureano entered the apartment, Carvajal was attempting to hack through the door of a bathroom, where Russo and her two young children were hiding. Some press accounts said Laureano and Carvajal grappled briefly.
     The outcome, however, is beyond dispute: both Carvajal and Laureano were shot and killed by the police officers, who allegedly fired more than a dozen shots at the men.
     The police initially said Carvajal stabbed Laureano to death, but according to the complaint, that changed after the city medical examiner concluded the Good Samaritan had suffered no stab wounds, but had instead died from a bullet wound to his back.
     On Oct. 1, 2014, Deputy Police Commissioner Stephen Davis said Laureano “was inadvertently shot by a police bullet,” but explained that the incident took place in “very close quarters” and that “Carvajal was coming at the officers with a knife and they had to fire,” the complaint says.
     The dead man’s son accuses the two officers of violating New York Police Department procedure, which mandates that officers can use deadly force only if they believe they or another person face “imminent death or serious physical injury.”
     “It’s a terrible tragedy,” said Abe George, the attorney representing the Laureano family in the lawsuit.
     George said the family tried to settle with the city, and has filed FOIA requests for additional information related to the shooting, but were denied in both situations.
     “The family did not want to bring this suit,” said George, a former prosecutor for Manhattan and Brooklyn. “It’s going to be a messy situation when we start depositing some of these officers.”
     The police department did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Courthouse News.

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