Jury Provides $900,000 Verdict to Victim of Police Brutality
Sullivan & Brill, LLP recently obtained an $900,000 verdict, including $500,000 in punitive damages, on behalf of a client that was the victim of excessive force by the New York City Police Department. On the night of the incident, New York City Police officers responded to a 911 call made at 3:30 in the morning. The 911 caller indicated that her neighbor, our client, had been kicking at her door and making a loud disturbance. The police arrived at the Manhattan building and found the neighbor intoxicated, partially dressed, standing in the hallway outside her apartment, having locked herself out of her apartment.
The interaction with the police escalated within a matter of minutes, to the point at which the Sergeant on the scene used her TASER on our client, in stun-gun mode, 7 times in a minute and a half. Apart from the pain of the repeated application of 50,000 volts of electricity, our client suffered burns to her skin, two black eyes, a torn earlobe, extensive bruising, and traumatic brain injury. She received several months of psycho-therapy after the incident and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Sullivan & Brill, LLP filed suit asserting both state and federal civil rights violations against the officers and the City of New York. The NYPD maintained that the officers used only the “minimum amount of force necessary” to take the client into custody. Rather than engage in settlement negotiations, the NYPD chose to aggressively fight the case before a jury in a three and a half week trial. After hearing from our client, three police officers, five expert witnesses and an emergency room nurse, the jury returned a verdict finding the police officer that tased the client used excessive force in violation of the client's Fourth Amendment rights and that the New York City Police Department's deliberate indifference to its policy with respect to training and supervising officers regarding their interactions with emotionally disturbed persons lead directly to the deprivation of the client's Fourth Amendment right.