Excessive Use of Force by the NYPD

Winning cases against the New York City Police Department and the City of New York for excessive use of force is extremely difficult unless the facts clearly support the plaintiff's case.

In this particular case, issues of credibility existed with respect to the police, a supposedly independent witness, and plaintiff. Plaintiff and someone he knew were involved in a dispute at a gas station. The police were summoned to the scene, at which time they claimed that plaintiff pushed one of the officers and ran. The police further alleged that plaintiff fell trying to scramble over a car, causing him to break his leg.

Plaintiff, on the other hand, claimed that the police officer pushed his head into a pole without provocation, causing plaintiff to run for his life. He then claimed that the police pulled and twisted his leg, resulting in a fracture. Plaintiff was arrested, and the complaining witness, who was involved in the dispute with the plaintiff, corroborated the story of the three police officers at the scene. One of the officers was actually injured in the incident. Bill's cross-examination of the police officers, which showed the jury the inconsistencies in their testimony, caused the jury to be unable to reach a verdict, despite the fact that more evidence favored the defendants, and despite the fact that the jury did not believe plaintiff's version of the events. (This was a fact that was learned through conversations with the jury after the trial).

The City of New York, which had expected to easily win the first trial, offered a settlement that was acceptable to plaintiff, just prior to the retrial of the case. The City had made a minimal offer prior to the first trial.

This case was referred to Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP by another personal injury law firm for trial, after much of the discovery had been completed. Bill then conducted a deposition of another police officer, and prepared the case for trial.

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