Allegations Of Brutality Leveled At Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department, Twenty Year Old Beaten, Maced, Hospitalized For 7 Days, Mother Not Able To See Him - RIOC Meeting Today To Discuss These Allegations
Reported last January 11 that the Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) renewed their October 2012 request for the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) to investigate the actions of its Public Safety Department in the handling of a resident's arrest (Video here).
Today's RIOC Operations Committee Agenda includes the following item:
Chair's Motion for Executive Session to Discuss:Executive Session means that the discussion will not be open to the public.
... b. Recent Complaint Against the RIOC Public Safety Department
It was not the investigation request from RIRA which brought about today's RIOC Operations Committee discussion of complaints against the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department. It was allegations of Public Safety Department brutality brought to the attention of resident Frank Farance and Mr. Farance sending the following January 24 inquiry to the RIOC Board and Executive Staff. (I have asked RIOC for comment on two separate occasions. They have not replied).
Here is Mr. Farance's January 24 inquiry to RIOC.
To: RIOC BoardUpon learning of these allegations, RIOC Director Michael Shinozaki called for RIOC to investigate this incident.
A mother contacted me with an incredible story about two weeks ago (2013-01-13, presumably the trespassing entry on the PSD log). According to the mother ...
- The son (a 510 Eastwood resident) was waiting with a friend in the front 510 Eastwood stairwell for another friend to come down (who lived in the back of 510 Eastwood). No drinking/smoking involved.
- Public Safety officers came and the boys ran.
- The son, decided to give himself up since he didn't do anything wrong, was apprehended by PS officers.
- The PS officer asked the boy to get down on one knee, but had difficulty doing with the officer forcing him down, so he asked to do it himself.
- The PS officer maced the boy, smashed his face to the ground (face cut up, broken tooth) and stepped on the boy's back.
- The boy said he couldn't breath.
- When they arrived at PS, the boy complained he couldn't breath. An ambulance was called.
- The boy was taken to Mt. Sinai in Queens. They took X-rays of his lungs, they were filled with fluid. The doctor said: might be pneumonia.
- Mt. Sinai in Queens was out of space, so he was transferred to Mt. Sinai Madison Avenue.
- Again, X-rays of boy's lungs showed they were filled with fluid.
- They pumped 2.5-3 liters of blood from his lungs. A CT scan show fractured ribs and a punctured lung.
- One doesn't contract pneumonia in an hour, these were all a result of his abuse with PS officers.
- It wasn't until a day later that his parents were notified he was in the hospital.
- The mother arrived, but was prohibited from seeing her son. PS officers told the mother: if she attempts to see the son, she will be arrested and summonsed.
- The boy was handcuffed to the bed for five days (Sunday-Thursday), still in the same bloody clothes as he arrived.
- The boy was guarded by round-the-clock PS officers (not NYPD)
- The mother begged to see the son because he was losing fluids and might need a transfusion, but PS would not permit it.
- On Wednesday, the mother was able to see the son briefly.
- The mother asked: what is my son charged with? Answer: loitering/trespassing. She could not understand why he was still handcuffed to the bed if his only charge would be a summons.
- On Thursday, the mother spoke with PSD Chief Guerra, who told her: the District Attorney declined to prosecute.
- Guerra told the mother: Maybe your son learned a lesson(!).
- When the mother went back to PS, Lieutenant Yee told her: I'm sorry your son was so ill, we saved his life by taking him to the hospital. The mother said he was healthy prior, and believes he did not develop pneumonia during his arrest.
- The boy was in the hospital for seven days, he is now in rehab.
A more plausible explanation is: PS was so abusive that they almost killed him, and they stayed with him to monitor to medical progress and prevent information flow to the parents (under the false guise of "in custody") so that they, consistent with Guerra's approach, claim the person was faking their injuries. But it all went horribly wrong.
Can someone explain how PS can just take you away for five days, handcuffed to a bed with only PS officers guarding you 24/7, yet no NYPD involvement?
How does a loitering charge escalate into near-death and such abusive treatment by PS officers?
What is Public Safety's story on this?
Again, these are allegations at this time subject to further investigation.
On January 25, I sent the following inquiry to RIOC Acting President Don Lewis, Public Safety Department Director Keith Guerra and the RIOC Directors:
I am following up on email I sent yesterday seeking comment from RIOC regarding the Public Safety incident as described by Frank Farance that is included below.No reply to date.
Does RIOC dispute in any way the account of this incident.
If so, what is incorrect?
I plan on publishing a story about this incident and will include any statement that RIOC wishes to make on the incident?
Please let me know if you do or don't wish to comment.
A press conference on this incident is scheduled for this afternoon at the Law Offices Of Michael S. Lamonsoff. According to a Press Release from the Lamonsoff Law firm:
INNOCENT VICTIM IS SEVERELY BEATEN AND BRUTALIZED BY THE NOTORIOUS ROOSEVELT ISLAND PUBLIC SAFETY OFFICERS: RESIDENTS DEMAND ACCOUNTABILITYThe NY Daily News reported late last night:
In a bizarre twist of fate, those that are charged with the protection of Roosevelt Islanders have become the biggest threat to the security of the Island’s residents. The Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department, through their peace officers, are solely responsible for policing the Island’s residents. While they are not members of the New York City Police Department, they are given similar powers in that they can effectuate arrests, use force, detain people, and issue summonses and tickets. Any persons arrested by them are turned over to the local NYPD precinct for processing.
The Island’s peace officers are not held to the same level of accountability for their excesses and abuses as the NYPD. They don’t have oversight groups like the IAB or the CCRB and they are answerable only to the Roosevelt Island Operating Committee Board of Directors who are political appointees. Their unchecked tactics include false arrests, beatings, Miranda rights violations, the imposition of curfews pell-mell, arresting residents who are not carrying picture identification, publicly defaming residents and using baseless, trumped up charges. The victims of these tactics are primarily the Island’s youth, whose futures are put at risk by these tactics. Parents of the Island’s youth fear not only for their children’s futures but also for their physical safety.
On January 13, 2013, 20-year-old Anthony Jones was violently assaulted by the Island’s peace officers. The assault began at 8:00 pm, at an apartment complex at which Mr. Jones and his friends were lawfully waiting for a resident to come out. Suddenly and without any provocation, the officers rushed towards them. They ordered Mr. Jones to the ground, and he complied. Thereafter, without resisting in any manner, he was maced, severely kicked, beaten and then handcuffed.
After having handcuffed Mr. Jones, the officers continued to brutally beat, kick and mace him. Finally, he was taken to a holding cell of the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department. While being held, Mr. Jones made desperate complaints that he could not breathe. He was taken to the hospital and handcuffed to his bed. At the hospital, doctors determined that Anthony was hemorrhaging blood into his lungs from the brutal beating at the hands of the officers. As a result of the beating, Mr. Jones sustained severe injuries to his lungs, several fractured ribs and teeth, requiring him to be admitted into the hospital for 7 days. Mr. Jones was never charged with a crime nor was he processed by the NYPD.
The Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department and their actions demonstrate a lack of training, regulation and accountability. Their actions are indicative of tactics designed to terrorize a peaceful and law-abiding community into fear and submission.
... Now Jones is planning on suing the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department Wednesday, charging the NYPD-deputized peace officers are poorly trained thugs who’ve been terrorizing “the peaceful and law-abiding community” they’re supposed to protect.and shows where Mr. Jones alleges he was beaten by Public Safety Officers behind 20 River Road
Jones’ mother, Monica Vega, said the incident happened around 8 p.m. on Jan. 13, when her son and some pals were waiting in front of an apartment building for a friend....
....The incident was caught on numerous cell phone cameras, Vega said....
The issue of how to monitor and investigate complaints against the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Department has been longstanding and unresolved. As reported in this 2010 post:
... Mr. Kellner's bill, (A 10618), will create a New York State Civilian Review Board. According to Mr. Kellner:Mr. Kellner's legislation has not been enacted into law.
When a civilian makes an allegation of misconduct against an officer of the New York City Police Department, both the officer and the civilian know that the complaint will be investigated by a fair and impartial body — the New York City Civilian Complaint Review Board (NYC CCRB). But when there is a dispute over the conduct of an officer employed by one of the many police forces operated by the State of New York, there is no such recourse.
Our state government has created dozens of different police forces, of all shapes and sizes. They do important work, but when there’s a complaint, officers and civilians alike are thrown to the mercy of dozens of different internal review processes—which are often murky and inconsistent. I have introduced legislation to replace this Kafkaesque system with a single, fair and independent civilian review body — the New York State Civilian Complaint Review Board....
Nothing in the Roosevelt Island Public Safety Report for January 13 listed below
1/13/13 7:00 am to 1/14/13 7:00 am
1/13/13 - 1300 - 2 River Rd. - Noise Complaint - Unfounded - PSD/NYPD on scene.
1/13/13 - 1301 - 566 Main St. - Alarm - Doors and windows secured. PSD/ NYPD on scene.
1/13/13 - 1328 - 546 Main St. - Found Property - Returned to owner.
1/13/13 - 1409 - 625 Main St. - Possible Harassment - PSD on scene/refused NYPD.
1/13/13 - 1900 - 645 Main St. - Illegally Parked Vehicle - Vehicle was towed.
1/13/13 - 1928 - 543 Main St. - Past Aided - Refused medical attention.
1/13/13 - 1930 - 536 Main St. - Trespassing/Resisting Arrest - Two male subjects arrested.
1/13/13 - 2205 - 510 Main St. - Criminal Mischief - UA super notified.
1/13/13 - 2205 - 540 Main St. - littering - UA personnel corrected condition.
indicates the seriousness of this incident.
Will have more from this afternoon's press conference and if RIOC responds to charges.
UPDATE 4:11 PM - Here's what happened during the Press Conference.