The Bronx, NY — A family has filed a lawsuit against the NYPD after they say they were assaulted, pepper sprayed, and brutalized by cops for no reason. According to the lawsuit, 31-year-old Norma Reyes, who was pregnant at the time, lost her unborn child as a result of the abuse — part of which was captured on video.
The incident happened in May and, according to the family, it was an act of retaliation by the NYPD. In spite of Reyes, Julius Segars, the father of her unborn child, and his 16-year-old cousin Kurt Gorin, all being assaulted and arrested by police — none of them were charged with a crime.
The trio's attorney, Nicholas Mindicino, told Patch.com that Reyes' miscarriage due to police brutality "is something that the court will need to sort out."
As Patch reports:
Reyes, Segars and Gorin claim they actually had a run-in with one of the officers — Lt. Raymond Meyer — around a month prior to the night in question, when he pulled over their vehicle in mid-April. After the traffic stop, Reyes filed a complaint against Lt. Meyer with the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau, claiming he had been "discourteous," according to her attorney.
So when Lt. Meyer and his partner, Officer Lawrence Sanchez, approached the trio one month later outside an apartment complex at 1314 Seneca Ave., they believe he was already holding a grudge against them, their attorney said.
What happened next, according to the lawsuit, is nothing short of brutality and false imprisonment.
According to the lawsuit, Gorin recognized Meyer from the previous harassment and decided to walk away when he saw him approach to avoid a confrontation. However, Meyer did not let that happen.
As the lawsuit states, and as the video backs up, Lt. Meyer pinned the 16-year-old boy up against the wall and tried to detain him for no reason. When the teen talked back, Meyer pulled out a can of pepper spray.
It is important to note that Gorin was simply objecting to his unlawful detainment without cause. He was not trying to flee or otherwise fight back against the officers.
"He's a minor! Look at him!" Segars says in the video as Meyers attempts to spray him in the face.
"Close your eyes! Close your eyes! Close your eyes, bro!" Segars says to the child.
While the detainment and assault was taking place, another officer was standing guard. When their uniformed backup arrived, the two cops then took the teen to the ground and placed him in handcuffs.
As the third cop, identified in the lawsuit as Jose Torres, shows up, the officers then try to block the couple from documenting the arrest. Thanks to their brutal tactics, the police were successful in their attempt.
According to the lawsuit, while the officers blocked Segars from filming, Meyer knelt down next to Gorin and doused his face with pepper spray.
Recommended for You
"Take them all!" Meyer yells as he charges the couple with the pepper spray out.
According to the lawsuit, Meyer pepper sprayed the teen while he was cuffed on the ground. He then sprayed Reyes and Segars as well.
During the melee, "the officers pushed Ms. Reyes against a wall," the suit says.
The cops then kidnapped the entire group and brought them all to jail.
As Patch reports:
In the car, the expectant mother noticed she was bleeding. "She alerted the transporting officers that she was pregnant, was bleeding between her legs, and needed immediate medical treatment," the lawsuit says. But officers allegedly ignored her pleas.
Instead of taking her to a doctor, cops took Reyes and her friends straight to the NYPD's 41st Precinct station house — where they again deprived the arrestees of sufficient water to wash the burning pepper spray out of their eyes, the lawsuit says.
By the time police actually called an ambulance — it was too late — Reyes' baby was dead.
The officers, having no crime to charge them with, decided to go with the standard "resisting arrest" charge.
According to the lawsuit, the Bronx District Attorney found no probable cause for the initial stop and thus had nothing to charge them with and they were let go.
According to the lawsuit:
At all times during the events described above, the defendant police officers were engaged in a joint venture and formed an agreement to violate plaintiffs' rights. The individual officers assisted each other in performing the various actions described and lent their physical presence and support and the authority of their officer to each other during said events. They failed to intervene in the obviously illegal actions of their fellow officers against plaintiffs.
Should the trio have calmed down and cooperated? Absolutely. However, it is often hard to remain calm when you are being gangstalked by officers for no reason, especially when they know you personally and have stopped you before.
This lawsuit will undoubtedly proceed and the taxpayers of New York will pay for the officers' needless escalation of force.