Brooklyn Daily Eagle: N.Y. lawmakers try again to decriminalize common work knives

Thousands of people in New York City — many in Brooklyn — are being arrested for possessing folding knives commonly used on the job. Most arrested are men of color. A bill introduced Wednesday for the third time is trying to change this. Eagle photo by Mary Frost

Thousands of people in New York City — many in Brooklyn — are being arrested for possessing folding knives commonly used on the job. Most arrested are men of color. A bill introduced Wednesday for the third time is trying to change this. Eagle photo by Mary Frost

Two New York lawmakers introduced gravity knife reform bills on Wednesday for the third year in a row, hoping to make adjustments in a law that currently criminalizes common work knives that can be flipped open.

Assemblymember Dan Quart (Upper East Side) and Sen. Robert Jackson (Upper West Side) introduced twin bills that would remove references of gravity knives as dangerous weapons from the penal law listing firearms, switchblades, bludgeons and other dangerous weapons.

“The idea that a foldable knife is any more dangerous than a fixed-blade knife is absurd,” Quart said in a release. “The ban does nothing to ensure public safety and is instead a false pretense for overzealous prosecutors to lock up people of color.”

A Legal Aid Society report analyzing caseload data between Jan. 1 and June 28, 2018 shows that NYPD and local district attorneys overwhelmingly target New Yorkers of color, who account for 88 percent of arrests for gravity knife possession. Most of those arrested were men.

Brooklyn’s 79th Precinct (Bedford-Stuyvesant) and the Bronx’s 49th Precinct have the highest rate of these arrests.

New York’s current gravity knife law makes a blade illegal if it can be opened using gravity or centrifugal force (such as “flicking” the knife open). Almost any knife, however, with enough attempts, can eventually be flicked open in this way.

This ambiguity is enough to send law-abiding citizens to jail, according to the Legal Aid Society, which represents roughly five gravity knife cases a day, or about 1,800 such cases each year.

Only one state senator voted against the legislation last year — former Sen. Marty Golden of Brooklyn.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance aggressively lobbied the governor to oppose the measure, Quart’s office said. Cuomo has vetoed the legislation twice.

The lawmakers are hoping that the third time’s a charm.

Redmond Haskins, a Legal Aid Society spokesperson, said Legal Aid’s analysis shows that gravity knives were used in the commission of violent crime in less than one percent of cases. Canes, crutches, glass bottles, baseball bats and other household items were alleged to have been used in the commission of violent crime at the same rate as, or more frequently than, gravity knives.

Some unsuspecting knife owners are arrested at coffee shops across the street from their construction sites, he said. Others are nabbed on their way to work as stage hands, artists or building superintendents. One Parks Department employee was apprehended while working as an arborist for Prospect Park.

“They use these knives as work tools,” Haskins told the Brooklyn Eagle. “They get letters from their employers saying they need the knives on the job.”

In almost all of the cases Legal Aid Society has represented, the gravity knife possession charge was the “top charge,” Haskins said. That means the knives weren’t used or possessed while committing another offense.

“New York City is the only part of the state where police go after people like this,” he added.

This reporter walked to a corner hardware store in Downtown Brooklyn on Thursday and easily purchased a knife similar to one possessed by numerous defendants in gravity knife cases.

“It is profoundly unjust that people are arrested and can lose their jobs, homes, children, or be deported, simply for carrying a tool they need for work,” said Lisa Schreibersdorf, executive director of Brooklyn Defender Services, in a statement. “New York state must decriminalize these basic tools once and for all.”

The knives for which people are being unjustly arrested are not the switch blades and street weapons that were originally targeted by the law, attorneys say.

Erika Lorshbough, assistant director for Legislative Affairs at the New York Civil Liberties Union said in a statement, “The gravity knives our law originally intended to ban are nothing like the modern pocket knives used today.

In 2015, Bernard Perez, an electrician from Brooklyn, was arrested after an NYPD officer found a folding knife in his car, according to NBC New York. Perez said the arresting officer could not open the knife with one hand even though he made “approximately 15 efforts over the course of several minutes.” Perez, who uses the knife to strip wire while on the job, was awarded $57,000 after he sued the city.

NYDN: NYC homeless students stiffed by Mayor de Blasio's budget

Mayor de Blasio is taking heat over proposed cuts to the budget that paid for social workers to aid homeless children. (Barry Williams for New York Daily News)

Mayor de Blasio is taking heat over proposed cuts to the budget that paid for social workers to aid homeless children. (Barry Williams for New York Daily News)

The number of homeless students enrolled in city schools has exploded to record highs — but Mayor de Blasio won’t pay for social workers who’d make a huge difference those needy kids’ lives, activists and school staffers charge.

Hizzoner whacked $13.9 million in the city’s upcoming budget that paid for 69 social workers who help homeless kids get to class on time and complete their schoolwork — and now 15 groups who work with children and the homeless are calling on de Blasio to restore the money.

If they don’t get the funding, the social workers will lose their jobs.

The mayor’s $92 billion budget — unveiled in February — is the biggest in the city’s history, and it comes at a time when there are more homeless students than ever, making it vital that the mayor fund the social workers, said Advocates for Children of New York Policy Director Randi Levine.

“We don’t understand why the mayor is playing budget games with these crucial supports,” Levine said. “This is not the time to pull away from the support — we need the city to increase services for students.”

During the 2017-18 school year there were 38,000 students living in shelters and 114,000 total public students identified as homeless, according to city figures. That total is up 66% since 2011 and is the biggest number of all time.

Educators and social workers view the situation as a crisis, since homeless students encounter high levels of trauma and often struggle in school.

The social workers dedicated to helping them — known as Bridging the Gap workers — earn roughly $74,000 per year on average and are assigned to work in schools with high numbers of homeless students.

“Given the record numbers of students experiencing homelessness and the significant needs of these students, we are deeply concerned that your fiscal year 2020 preliminary budget would eliminate funding for key educational support for students living in shelters,” said the letter sent Tuesday.

The letter, signed by diverse entities including the Coalition for the Homeless, The Legal Aid Society, Women In Need and the Children’s Defense Fund-New York, also asks de Blasio to pony up another $5 million to add hire an additional 31 Bridging the Gap social workers for needy students and five clinical supervisors to oversee the program.

Currently, more than 100 public schools with 50 or more students living in a shelter do not yet have a Bridging the Gap social worker, according to the letter.

The groups also ask the mayor for another $500,000 to establish an education support center at the city’s PATH shelter intake center, which currently has no such facility.

The figures are small in comparison to more expensive efforts such as the city’s controversial Renewal Schools program for troubled schools, which cost the city more than $750 million dollars.

Likewise, First Lady Chirlane McCray’s “Thrive” mental health program spent roughly $850 million over four years but has been widely criticized for failing to report results.

In 2018, the mayor also withheld money for school social workers from his initial budget plan but reinstated it after activists applied pressure.

But educators and social workers who work with homeless students said the mayor’s funding game creates unnecessary anxiety.

“It’s a shame we have to do this dance with the budget to staff such important positions,” said one Education Department staffer who works with homeless kids.

“It undercuts our ability to attract better social workers,” the staffer added. “It sucks.”

De Blasio spokeswoman Jaclyn Rothenberg said the mayor is dedicated to helping address the needs of homeless students.

“We’ve continued to expand bus service, relocate families closer to their schools and support networks, invest $11.9 million in social workers, medical and mental health support, and expand outreach for enrollment to ensure students are on the best path to success,” Rothenberg said.

Romper: The Family Separation Crisis Is Ongoing — Here's What Legal Advocate Wants You To Know

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The first pictures depicting the policy of family separation occurring at the United States border were hard for the populace to believe. Even harder to fathom is the fact that they’re still occurring today, a year on.

“The one thing that is really shocking is that the separations are still happening,” says Beth Krause, supervising attorney of The Legal Aid Society of NYC’s Immigrant Youth Project.

Since the zero-tolerance policy was implemented, under which undocumented immigrants who enter the U.S. are prosecuted for illegal entry and taken into custody, triggering separation from their children, Krause and her team have represented many of the separated children transported thousands of miles to New York. Initially, hundreds of children were brought to the state, Krause recalling that the number hit approximately 400 kids.

“We worked to make sure that every single separated child had an attorney fully representing their interests in reunification and in any sort of immigration relief that they might be eligible for here,” she tells Romper via phone. “It was a whirlwind.”

The Trump administration has reported that 2,700 children have been separated from their parents under the policy, though many believe that number is severely underreported and, just days ago, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Neilsen denied that the family separation policy existed, per the ACLU.

Krause’s team would beg to differ.

They have specifically worked with 70 kids both in and around New York City during the summer months, advocating for their wants and desires while trying to further understand the confusing policy. They filed class-action lawsuits in federal court, some of which proved to successful. The major issue, however, were the unanswered questions. Even when a federal judge required that families by reunited, much was unknown: What would the reunification process be like? How would it happen? And what would happen after a child was reunited?

“We filed a Class Action lawsuit in the southern district of New York asking for — and we won — notice.” This meant that the government was required o provide 48 hours notice before families would be moved or reunified, along with a reunification plan.

Before the lawsuit, Krause recalled that some reunifications “happened in the middle of the night. I had a client who was reunified with his mom at 3 in the morning. It was all done without information, without planning, and we didn’t know exactly what was going to happen. We didn’t know if when they got reunified, if they would be deported with the parent. We didn’t know if they would be put into detention again.”

The many unknowns were the most difficult factors at play. Many of the separated children, in fact, were unsure if they wanted to be reunited considering they might be deported.

“We had clients who were almost 18 year olds who were very clear about what they wanted to happen and they had their own interest that we as their lawyers had to be watching out for. In a number of situations, we had clients telling us that, ‘If my mom has to go back to our home country, I don’t want to go with her. I want to stay here. I’m afraid to go back’” she recalls.

In addition to trying to figure out what the next steps were for children, Krause and her team were dealing with the trauma that the kids had faced. Not only had they been separated from their parents, but they’d been placed in detention centers, often without daily phone access to parents. Migrant children have also been impacted by sexual abuse taking place in immigrant detention facilities, as reported on by the New York Times. The effects of this were evident in the moment, as well as long term.

Krause says that some of the children who are reunited now are in therapy, trying to deal with the trauma.

Last June, Heather Larkin, Associate Professor in Social Welfare at the University at Albany, SUNY, told Romper that the separations could cause future issues for the children such as “everything from major depression, anxiety, and substance abuse to an increased likelihood of contracting sexual transmitted diseases or becoming a teenage parent. It's even linked to different types of cancer and early death."

Krause adds, “We had other kids who were so traumatized from their time in detention and the confusion and being separated from their parents that they said things like, ‘I wanna be back with my parents but I don’t want to go back into detention. I can’t do that again.’ These are kids who had traveled so far with their parents, then had often been without any sort of warning taken from their parents. And then they were placed in another foreign place without their parents...They were suffering. It was not an easy time for anyone.”

Families are separated in the United States on a daily basis in different contexts. For instance, a child welfare authority may remove a child if there is imminent risk. However, as Krause pointed out, “the difference between that process and what’s happening at the border is that there is judicial review of that process. Usually within 48 hours, that child welfare agency has to go before a judge and justify and meet the legal requirements for having taken the child away from a parent.”

At the border, there is little oversight. “What is still happening at the border is that when families are coming across, immigration authorities are determining what they deem ‘red flags’... and they will remove the child from the parent. There is no judicial review of this. There is no ability to go before a judge immediately afterward to get the government to justify what it's doing.”

The situation, despite efforts by Krause and teams like hers across the country, is complicated. As advocates like Krause fight for the children and families involved, Krause wants parents to know that this is still happening and the effects, both near and far, can be immensely damaging.

NY Post: New database allows New Yorkers to view lawsuits filed against NYPD

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By Tina Moore, Craig McCarthy and Yaron Steinbuch
March 7, 2019

A newly released database allows New Yorkers to peruse thousands of lawsuits filed against the NYPD — allowing them to track how much taxpayer money has been spent to settle cases against cops in their local precincts since 2015.

The nonprofit Legal Aid Society launched CAPStat on Wednesday as part of a national drive to publicize allegations of police misconduct.

The effort has gained momentum recently after several fatal shootings by police sparked the Black Lives Matter movement.

Legal Aid attorney Cynthia Conti-Cook, who is spearheading the database project with the group’s Cop Accountability Project team, said one aim is to identify, track and analyze misconduct patterns.

“CAPstat will help New Yorkers gain a more thorough understanding of lawsuits filed against the NYPD for misconduct and will help the public hold the NYPD accountable for reoccurring patterns of misconduct that the department itself routinely ignores,” Conti-Cook said in a statement announcing the site’s launch Wednesday.

But police unions warn that the information about 2,339 lawsuits contains false allegations that could help guilty defendants tarnish the credibility of police witnesses.

“The intent of this database is clearly to help guilty criminals beat the charges against them,” Patrick Lynch, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president, told The Post.

“By publishing this database online, they will be doing even greater damage: Anyone with a grudge against cops will be free to peruse the false and frivolous allegations against specific officers and use them as inspiration for a campaign of harassment, intimidation or worse.”

Ed Mullins, who heads the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said cops in the city are being used as political pawns.

“Any NYPD member who continues to police this city without the backing of the mayor and police commissioner is crazy and jeopardizing their own personal careers, families and lives,” he said. “They need to rethink their commitment to a city that no longer cares about them.”

The online trove contains suits filed from January 2015 through mid-2018 against 3,897 cops — as well as internal disciplinary records for about 1,800 officers accused of misconduct between 2011 and 2015.

The database of public records culled from state and federal court websites is searchable by an officer’s name, unit, precinct and type of allegation, or by the names of those who filed the lawsuit.

It includes a summary of the complaint and the outcome of each case, but the Legal Aid Society said it could not guarantee the accuracy of all the allegations, since many cases are settled without any admission of wrongdoing.

New York law prohibits the release of results of internal police probes, which are considered personnel records.

The NYPD said that “not all lawsuits filed for money have legal merit.”

“The ones that do can be valuable tools we use to improve officer performance and enhance training or policy where necessary,” the department said in an email to The Post.

The commands with the highest number of complaints against cops include the plainclothes narcotics units in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan.

The 75th Precinct, which comprises Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood, was involved in 91 lawsuits, the most of any precinct, with settlements totaling more than $9.1 million.

Julie Ciccolini, who supervised the data collection and design of CAPstat, told The Post a goal of the project was to help inform city residents about the officers who police their neighborhood.

“Sometimes it paints a really clear picture of misconduct by a team or officer that has gone unnoticed,” said Ciccolini.

Ciccolini said her group has received positive feedback from cops despite union responses. She said many officers welcomed the transparency and the ability to look up their partner’s history.

Detective Abdiel Anderson from Bronx Narcotics has faced 44 lawsuits since 2015, the most of any officer, according to the database.

Detective Sgt. David Grieco of the 75th Precinct has been sued at least 31 times, resulting in at least $410,752 in settlement payments, the data shows.

The Legal Aid Society’s 143rd Anniversary Serving New Yorkers

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Today, The Legal Aid Society celebrates its 143rd anniversary. Founded in 1876, in the centennial year of American independence to provide free legal assistance to immigrants, a national movement was born here in New York City that spread across this country.   The vision of our founders that equal access to justice should not be denied because of poverty was a tremendous dream that we and our counterparts throughout the country  work every day to make a reality. 

From its early days, The Legal Aid Society has particularly championed the rights of women, fighting for immigrant working women who needed the protection of the law with wage and dismissal claims. Today, our clients include survivors of domestic abuse, undocumented women seeking a living wage, homeless women trying to secure a safe place for their children to sleep, trans women fighting for health care and women held at Rikers away from their families and communities simply because they cannot afford bail. We are the change for women in New York City, but we do not lose sight of the plight of women throughout the world. We stand in solidarity with those celebrating International Women’s Day throughout the world and the extraordinary and transcendent contributions of women.

The words of the Honorable Learned Hand, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, spoken at the 75th anniversary celebration of The Legal Aid Society in 1951, were never truer than they are today: ‘If we are to keep our democracy, there must be one commandment: Thou Shalt Not Ration Justice.’ Today, in the face of new challenges confronting our clients, we stand with them, every day in every borough, fighting for justice.”

The Legal Aid Society Statement on International Women’s Day

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The Legal Aid Society released the following statement today for International Women’s Day.

“On this International Women’s Day, The Legal Aid Society stands in solidarity with women across the nation and globally. We are proud to join in the commemoration and celebration of women and their vital contributions to our organization, our communities, and our city. For over 140 years, women have played a key role in The Legal Aid Society, helping shape both the history of our organization and the legal landscape of our city. Today, our organization serves as a beacon of hope for women across our city, helping women of all backgrounds with the challenges they face.

We tenaciously advocate for our clients, many of whom are women, trans women, and gender non-conforming people from communities of color, who have struggled with poverty and who live under multifaceted layers of oppression. Now, while we take the time to celebrate the incredible achievements of women for women, we must also strengthen our resolve to stand against the systems that perpetuate gender inequality, sexism, transphobia, misogynoir, and all forms of oppression that women face every day.”

 

Gothamist: Here Are NYC's Most Sued Cops Who Are Still On The Job, According To New Public Database

Mayor Bill de Blasio speaking at the NYPD's graduation ceremony at Madison Square Garden (Mary Altaffer/AP/Shutterstock)

Mayor Bill de Blasio speaking at the NYPD's graduation ceremony at Madison Square Garden (Mary Altaffer/AP/Shutterstock)

By Jake Offenhartz in News
March 7, 2019

Each year, New York City taxpayers are on the hook for millions of dollars in settlements paid out to the victims of alleged police misconduct. While the number of lawsuits has trended down in recent years, the annual bill of NYPD-related suits and claims has ballooned — reaching a record-breaking $308.2 million in 2017 — thanks in part to big-ticket settlements for wrongful convictions and high-profile false arrest suits.

At the same time, the public window into the department's handling of misconduct cases has never been more obscured. As a result of the NYPD's controversial reinterpretation of section 50-a of the state Civil Rights Law in 2016, New York is now one of just two states to specifically classify police disciplinary records. A report released last month by a panel of experts, including two former US attorneys, determined that decision has contributed to "a fundamental and pervasive lack of transparency" within the department.

Hoping to address this glaring information gap, the Legal Aid Society has launched CAPstat, a searchable database of publicly available lawsuits filed against members of the NYPD. It includes a wealth of data — easily filtered by an officer's name, type of misconduct, precinct, or rank — culled from lawsuits filed in federal and state court, as well as the trove of internal disciplinary records published by BuzzFeed News last year. It's the first time such information on the city's police department has been publicly accessible in one place.

In response to CAPstat's launch on Wednesday, a spokesperson for the NYPD noted that "not all lawsuits filed for money have legal merit." Patrick Lynch of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association warned that the database would inspire "a campaign of harassment, intimidation or worse."

But other cities that have recently worked to lift the veil on police misconduct, like Chicago and Philadelphia, have seen no evidence of increased harassment, according to Julie Ciccolini, a project manager at the Legal Aid Society who oversaw the design of CAPstat. Rather, publicizing the information is believed to have contributed to rising public trust in the police department.

"We're trying to shed light on the extent of police misconduct that's happening and the extent that officers are not being held accountable for it," Ciccolini told Gothamist. "It's important for the public to see how large of a problem this is, so that they can start putting pressure on public officials to do something about it."

We combed the database for the police officers who have been named in the most lawsuits in recent decades — taking into account the full subset of federal lawsuits from 2015 until mid-2018, publicly available state lawsuits, the leaked internal misconduct records covering 2011 to 2015, and other known lawsuits against NYPD officers tallied by the Legal Aid Society. Find that list below, and search CAPstat for yourself here.

Gothamist attempted to contact each of the officers named in this story before publication. We will update if we receive any responses.

DETECTIVE ABDIEL R. ANDERSON Command: Bronx Narcotics Unit Known lawsuits: 44

Abdiel Anderson is a veteran police officer who's spent the last decade as a detective third grade in the Bronx's narcotics unit. He's racked up 44 lawsuits in that time, the most of any police officer in the city, according to the database. The department has settled in at least 19 of the federal lawsuits, resulting in taxpayer funded payouts totalling $524,000.

In reviewing his history of alleged misconduct, the Legal Aid Society found that more than thirty lawsuits have been filed against him for alleged use of excessive force. "We've been aware of him for years, but again, nothing is being done," said Ciccolini. "We don't know if he's being investigated internally, but we do know that he continues to arrest our clients."

SERGEANT DAVID A. GRIECO Command: 67th Precinct Known lawsuits: 32

Nicknamed "Bullethead" by the Daily News, Grieco's lengthy history of allegedly violating the civil rights of Brooklyn residents has come up in 32 known lawsuits, at a cost to taxpayers of $343,252. He has been accused of putting a minor in a chokehold, threatening to arrest an aspiring rapper if he didn't freestyle for him, and bursting into a home without a warrant and hauling six-year-old twins to a police precinct.

Meanwhile, Grieco has continued climb the NYPD's chain of command. After spending a dozen years patrolling Brooklyn's 75th Precinct—the most-sued precinct, per the database—he was promoted last year to sergeant, and now works the 67th precinct in East Flatbush. In addition to being the city's second most frequently sued cop, he's one of the NYPD's top overtime earners — in 2017, he pulled in $73,000 in overtime, bringing his total salary to $190,000.

DETECTIVE ANTHONY T. DISIMONE Command: Bronx Narcotics Unit Known lawsuits: 28

In more than two decades with the NYPD, Disimone has been affiliated with 28 known lawsuits, racking up a taxpayer bill of $400,000. The most expensive of his many allegedly brutal arrests came in 2012, when he and a handful of other Bronx narcotics officers raided an apartment on 169th Street. The officers were later accused of pulling a naked woman from her bed, tossing her to the ground, and pointing a gun at her boyfriend. After allegedly leaving them naked and handcuffed in the bedroom, the suit claims that police ransacked the home and stole $3,100 from the couple, before bringing them back to the precinct for a humiliating strip search. The couple were released without charges, and the city later settled their lawsuit for $90,000.

DETECTIVE JODI BROWN Command: Bronx Narcotics Unit Known Lawsuits: 27

Yet another member of the Bronx narcotics unit, Brown is a detective third grade named in 27 known lawsuits that have cost the city $993,500 in settlements. The bulk of that sum came from a notorious incident seven years ago, in which a gaggle of officers were caught on video beating 19-year-old Jatiek Reed with batons and kicking him as he lay on the ground. Brown was later named in a lawsuit as one of the officers "personally involved" in the beating, and the city ended up paying out $614,500.

DETECTIVE CARLOS MARCHENA Command: Bronx Narcotics Unit Known lawsuits: 27

Marchena splits the fourth-place spot with his fellow Bronx narcotics detective Jodi Brown, but has a slight leg up on total cost to the city, with a $997,502 in affiliated settlements. He's faced numerous complaints of excessive force, and was accused of inflicting "severe and permanent" psychological injury on one Bronx woman, who claims she was violently arrested and falsely accused of drug possession by Marchena. The woman spent nine days in jail before the charges were dropped, and the city later settled for $175,000.

DETECTIVE CHRISTOPHER J. SCHILLING Command: Brooklyn North Narcotics Unit Known lawsuits: 26

A detective in the Brooklyn narcotics unit for over a decade and trustee on the board of the Detectives' Endowment Association, Schilling has an alleged history of unlawful and violent searches and falsifying drug charges. In 2015, he was sued in federal court for allegedly bashing a suspect's face into the concrete, dragging him into a police van, denying him medical attention, and lying about finding drugs on him. As a result of the arrest, the victim said he spent three days in the hospital vomiting and urinating blood, and was later diagnosed with an acute kidney injury. The drug charges were dropped, and the city settled the ensuing complaint against Schilling for $47,500.

DETECTIVE JAMES R. RIVERA Command: Brooklyn North Narcotics Unit Known lawsuits: 26

Rivera has been a police officer for nearly two decades, and in that time has been affiliated with 26 known lawsuits, resulting in $1,389,000 in taxpayer-funded settlements. In 2012, he was accused of "viciously and unjustifiably" choking Brooklyn resident James Young until he lost consciousness, then handcuffing him to a park bench with "his eyes rolled back in his head and with foam around his mouth." Young fell into a coma and died four months later. The city settled with his window for $832,500, and Rivera faced no known discipline.

DETECTIVE SPECIALIST DAVID TERRELL 42nd Precinct, Bronx Known lawsuits: 25

A Bronx detective who specializes in gang investigations, David Terrell's alleged penchant for both brutality and pestering the mothers of his targets was documented in a recent New York Times magazine feature and in the podcast Conviction. In media appearances, he has repeatedly referred to Pedro Hernandez, the teenager who spent a year on Rikers Island for a charge that was later dismissed and has since become the face of bail reform, as a "vicious kid." He was also the subject of a 2011 internal disciplinary investigation, which found he was guilty of making inappropriate remarks to a minor and placing a fellow cop's arm around an unnamed individual — an offense for which he was docked 15 vacation days.

Though he's been sued more than two dozen times for brutality and other misconduct at a taxpayer cost of $684,500, Terrell was promoted to detective specialist in 2015. After allegedly challenging a fellow officer to a fight this past summer, he faced the threat of 25 lost vacation days and a year of probation — though it's unknown whether the police commissioner has signed off on the punishment yet.

DETECTIVE ODALIS M. PEREZ Bronx Narcotics Unit Known lawsuits: 25

The city has settled the majority of the 25 lawsuits in which Perez has been named, resulting in a $405,000 cost to taxpayers. At least four of the complaints also name Detective Abdiel Anderson — the city's most sued cop, per the database. In a federal suit, Perez stands accused of seizing a woman's cancer treatment, then handcuffing her and her boyfriend and taking them for a "rough ride" to the precinct. The drug charges were later dropped, and the city settled for an undisclosed sum.

DETECTIVE JOEL P. POLICHRON Brooklyn Narcotics Unit Known lawsuits: 25

A Brooklyn detective third grade since 2003, Polichron has been named in 25 lawsuits that have cost the city at least $235,250 over the years. He's faced numerous allegations of fabricating evidence, writing false police reports, and unprofessional behavior. In one suit, which was settled for $52,500, Polichron and two other officers allegedly burst into the home of a disabled man, arrested him for having $20 of "buy money" in his possession, and told his autistic child that their father was "a f'ing drug dealer." The city settled that case for $52,500.

Asked about whether police officers who rack up dozens of complaints and cost the city millions of dollars in legal settlements should face discipline from the NYPD, mayoral spokesperson Olivia Lapeyrolerie said, "Each allegation needs to be thoroughly reviewed on its own merit, and each officer’s standing in the department should be assessed on the details and specifics of their own record.”

Patch: Chelsea's Precinct Has Among The Fewest Cop Lawsuits, Data Shows

By Sydney Pereira, Patch Staff
Mar 7, 2019

Police in the 10th Precinct have among the city's fewest federal lawsuits filed against them for police misconduct, according to a new database.

The precinct, which covers Chelsea through the southern parts of Hell's Kitchen, has had three federal lawsuits associated with it since 2015, according to a new database CAPStat launched by The Legal Aid Society on Wednesday.

Three lawsuits was comparably less than, for instance, 91 lawsuits with over $9 million in settlements in East New York's 75th Precinct, which had the most suits in the city. The 73rd, which covers Brownsville and Ocean Hill, had the second most federal lawsuits in the city at 39, the database shows.

Of the three lawsuits in the 10th, one involved a man standing outside who was approached by an officer and allegedly thrown against a wall, searched, and arrested for possession of what turned out to be Alka-Seltzer in a 2015 suit, the database says.

In another suit, a man fell asleep in a taxi ride from Brooklyn to upper Manhattan, the database summary of the case says. The taxi stopped at West 42nd St., and the plaintiff woke up to an officer saying he would be arrested if he did not pay the fare. The plaintiff paid and attempted to document the officers' badge numbers with his phone, after which officers arrested him for attempted assault.

The database features federal police misconduct lawsuits by precincts, transit districts, among other information aimed to hold the NYPD accountable.

"CAPStat will help New Yorkers gain a more thorough understanding of lawsuits filed against the NYPD for misconduct and will help the public hold the NYPD accountable for reoccurring patterns of misconduct that the department itself routinely ignores," a staff attorney with the special litigation unit at The Legal Aid Society's criminal practice Cynthia Conti-Cook said in a statement.

The database, its website emphasizes, is not representative of the full picture of police misconduct in New York City. The data includes federal lawsuits from 2015 through June 2018 regarding civil rights violations.

With the database's launch, "we join a national movement including fellow defenders, advocates, and community members to shed much needed daylight on police departments and their actions," Conti-Cook said.

See the database here.

Patch: Gramercy's Precinct Has Among The Fewest Cop Lawsuits, Data Shows

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By Sydney Pereira, Patch Staff
Mar 7, 2019

Police in the 13th Precinct have among the city's fewest federal lawsuits filed against them for police misconduct, according to a new database.

The precinct, which covers Stuyvesant Town, Gramercy Park, and Kips Bay as well as west through Union Square and Madison Square Park, has had four federal lawsuits associated with it since 2015, according to a new database CAPStat launched by The Legal Aid Society on Wednesday.

Four lawsuits was comparably less than, for instance, 91 lawsuits with over $9 million in settlements in East New York's 75th Precinct, which had the most suits in the city. The 73rd, which covers Brownsville and Ocean Hill, had the second most lawsuits in the city at 39.

Of the four lawsuits in the 13th Precinct, the database says that one had a settlement of $40,000, where the plaintiff alleged officers conducted an unlawful strip search and excessive force with tight handcuffs, and a second with $8,000, where there was alleged retaliation for recording officers.

Two are still pending, the database shows. One involved alleged racial or biased profiling.

Four other lawsuits prior to 2015 are also associated with the 13th, dating back to 2008, the database shows.

The new database features federal police misconduct lawsuits by precincts, transit districts, among other information aimed to hold the NYPD accountable.

"CAPStat will help New Yorkers gain a more thorough understanding of lawsuits filed against the NYPD for misconduct and will help the public hold the NYPD accountable for reoccurring patterns of misconduct that the department itself routinely ignores," a staff attorney with the special litigation unit at The Legal Aid Society's criminal practice Cynthia Conti-Cook said in a statement.

The database, its website emphasizes, is not representative of the full picture of police misconduct in New York City. The data includes federal lawsuits from 2015 through June 2018 regarding civil rights violations.

With the database's launch, "we join a national movement including fellow defenders, advocates, and community members to shed much needed daylight on police departments and their actions," Conti-Cook said.

See the database here.

Patch: Carroll Gardens' Precinct Among Lowest For Cop Misconduct: Data

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By Anna Quinn, Patch Staff
Mar 7, 2019

The NYPD precinct based in Carroll Gardens has some of the borough's most well behaved officers, new data shows. The 76th Precinct, which oversees Carroll Gardens, Red Hook and parts of Gowanus and Cobble Hill, was one of three in Brooklyn that had the least number of lawsuits filed against its officers.

The three precincts — Park Slope's 78th, Bensonhurst's 62nd and Carroll Gardens' 76th — each had four lawsuits filed against its cops since 2015, a CAPStat database launched by The Legal Aid society shows. Only about seven precincts in other parts of the city had less than four lawsuits.

This number falls drastically below the precinct at the top of the list for both Brooklyn and the entire city, the 75th Precinct in East New York, which had 91 federal lawsuits.

The new online tool tracks, which tracks federal police misconduct lawsuits how much taxpayer money has been spent settling these, aims to spot patterns of misconduct and discipline cops who are repeat offenders, Legal Aid says.

"With today's launch, we join a national movement including fellow defenders, advocates, and community members to shed much needed daylight on police departments and their actions," said Cynthia Conti-Cook, a staff attorney with the Special Litigation Unit in Legal Aid's Criminal Practice.

It will also help the general public "hold the NYPD accountable" for such patterns, which it "routinely ignores," Conti-Cook added.

The 76th Precinct was also an outlier in that it only had to pay $3,000 in settlements for the lawsuits, though this could change given that three are still pending. Other precincts with the same number of lawsuits, like Park Slope, had to pay tens of thousands in settlements.

The precincts at the top of the list paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars, or as much as $9.1 million in the 75th precinct's case.

The one lawsuit that ended in a settlement was for an officer that grabbed and searched a man at a the Smith and 9th Street subway station, arrested him and had him strip-searched at the station for a medication that he was prescribed, records show.

Read more about the database and how it works here.