Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.

Articles Posted in Police Brutality

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crying babyChildren and adolescents are prone to traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Among the 1.7 million patients diagnosed every year with TBI in the US, 700,000 are children below 19 year old. A recent study by Bina Ali, Bruce A Lawreence, Ted Miller from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation and Jennifer Allision from Health Imperative in Brockton, MA that was recently published in the Official Research Journal of the International Brain Injury Association (IBIA) investigate leading consumer products and activities that can cause children and adolescents to suffer traumatic brain injury.

By analyzing data from from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System from 2010 to 2013, the searchers found that home furnishings and fixtures as well as sports and recreation products were the products most commonly associated with accidents causing TBI. Beds, stairs, floors and footballs are among the most dangerous products for children and teenager.

Toddlers and older teens most at risk of a TBI

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even Hills School Hillsdale campus from aboveA teenager died after being crushed by a defective car seat after making two agonizing phone calls to 911. Sixteen year old Kyle Plush was in his van, a Honda Odissey, on the parking lot of the Seven Hills School – Illsdale Campus in Madisonville, OH when the second-row seat accidentally tipped forward slowly crushing the young man to death. 46 people previously reported minor injuries for a similar issue and Honda issued a recall of this model last year to fix the problem.

“I probably don’t have much time left, so tell my mom that I love her if I die,”

As the seat was crushing him, Kyle picked up his cell phone and called 911 begging for help. He told the operator he was at “Seven Hills” but she couldn’t understand where it was. He made a second call and told the operator “I probably don’t have much time left, so tell my mom that I love her if I die,” he said. “I’m trapped inside my gold Honda Odyssey van. In the (inaudible) parking lot of Seven Hills Hillsdale. Send officers immediately. I’m almost dead.”

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pedestrianIn Jacksonville, Florida, the police has been issuing hundreds of tickets to pedestrians.  Tickets are not only issued for jaywalking or crossing at the red light but also for crossing at the yellow light or “failing to cross the street at a right angle”.  The police also ticketed pedestrians because they were walking on the right side of the road instead of the left side when there were no sidewalks on both sides of the road. In other cases pedestrians were ticketed for walking on the road when a sidewalk was available.

A pedestrian ticket in itself is not such a big deal however if it is left unpaid it can damage a credit history or lead to a driver license suspension.

In a recent investigation ProPublica asked the sheriff why so many pedestrians were ticketed in Jacksonville. The sheriff replied that his city had one of the highest pedestrian fatality rates in the country and that tickets were the best way  to save lives.

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NYPD logoNYPD killed an emotionally disturbed man who was holding a knife and a fake gun yesterday night in the Bronx. The killing was recorded on official NYPD cameras.

A landlord worrying that he hadn’t seen his tenant for a long time called 911 to ask the police to check on him. Two officers showed up at  a building located on Pratt Ave. When they entered the tenant’s apartment around 4:00 pm  they found a disturbed 31 year old man holding a knife in his hands. His other hand was hidden behind his back. The officers noticed it was a small gun and asked the man if it was real. For an hour the two officers tried to negotiate with the man, asking him to drop his knife and come out. They finally asked for back up. According to the police, when more officers showed up, the man aimed the silver pistol at the cops. At this point one officer fired his taser and two others their service weapons, striking the man several times. The video hasn’t been released yet. Police recovered the knife and a toy gun. The video footage hasn’t been released by the NYPD yet. Read more in the NY Daily News

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New York Civil Right Attorney DonadioOur NY civil rights attorney Christopher J. Donadio recently lectured at the American Association for Justice Winter Convention in Austin, Texas. He was asked to speak at the convention to educate plaintiff’s lawyers from around the country on how to litigate cases where police officers have unlawfully used Tasers to injure innocent people.

As of 2016, over 97.5% of police departments in the United States employ officers that carry Tasers, devices that can incapacitate a person with electricity. Although Tasers can be useful in reducing the need for deadly force, unfortunately, many officers have used them inappropriately and severely harmed and/or killed innocent people. As a result, there has been a rise in lawsuits involving the excessive use of Tasers. Despite the seemingly straight forward nature of cases involving excessive force by the use of a Taser, there are complicated legal issues, including the Qualified Immunity Defense, that can prevent those injured from obtaining justice.

Unfortunately many innocent victims have been denied justice because their attorneys did not have the knowledge to negotiate the various complex legal issues. As a result of Mr. Donadio’s success in litigating Taser cases, he was asked to educate lawyers from all over the country as to what must be done to insure that their clients are not denied justice.

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New York police brutalizing a girlPolice brutality is highly suspected in a case during which a NYPD sergeant tased a 17 year old pregnant girl. A disturbing video shows a girl cuffed and tased with at least 10 cops around her looking at the scene without intervening. An internal investigation was opened and witnesses were interviewed by internal affairs yesterday. So far no one was disciplined.

The police were called in a Bronx building for an unrelated asthma attack.  They came across a fight between two men and called for additional backup. 17 year old Rosalia was the sister of one of them and was in the apartment with them. For some unclear reason the police cuffed her and tried to arrest her. She told them she didn’t do anything and that she was pregnant. As she resisted being arrested, the cops tased her with a X26 stun gun. She suffered burn injuries. She also told the NY Daily News that the “The hook was embedded into my skin so they had to cut it to take both the Tasers (barbs) out.”

Read more in the NY Daily News

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photo__2573607_christopher_donadioWe are proud to announce that our associate Christopher Donadio has been selected by The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 under 40. The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 under 40 is a professional organization composed of the top trial lawyers from each state or region who are under the age of 40.  Membership into The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 under 40 is by invitation only. Membership is extended solely to the select few of the most qualified attorneys from each state who demonstrate superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature and public profile measured by objective and uniformly applied standards in compliance with state bar and national Rule 4-7. Invitees must exemplify superior qualifications, trial results, and leadership as a young lawyer under the age of 40. Selection is based on a thorough multi-phase objective process which includes peer nominations combined with third-party research. Chris has already taken over 40 verdicts in personal injury cases in both New York State and Federal Courts. His selection is a testament to his having immersed himself not only in his work but in his extensive studying of both the past and present top personal injury lawyers. He has represented plaintiffs at trial in all types of personal injury cases including police brutality cases, an area in which he has a particular interest and expertise. We congratulate Chris on this well deserved Honor.

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In Newmaker v. City of Fortuna, et. al.,Docket #14-15098, The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed The District Court’s granting of summary judgment for the defendants in this action predicated on 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs claimed that Maxwell Soeth, a City of Fortuna police officer, used excessive force during an attempted arrest when he fatally shot Jacob Newmaker. Soeth claimed that he shot Newmaker because he grabbed Soeth’s  baton. Soeth testified that Newmaker was standing and swinging the baton at the head of his fellow officer at which time he shot him. He further testified that Newmaker after being shot fell to the ground and that Newmaker was getting back up swinging the baton at which time he shot him again. The Court concluded that both the autopsy and a dashboard camera contradicted his testimony and raised an issue of credibility and that summary judgment should not be granted in Section 1983 actions which turn on an officer’s credibility which is  genuinely in doubt. The Court pointed out that the autopsy findings “…can be explained only by Newmaker having been turned away from Soeth, bending over, and low to the ground in both shots…” This, the Court stated clearly contradicted Soeth’s testimony that Newmaker was standing up swinging the baton when he was first shot or attempting to stand up while still swinging the baton when he was shot again. The video, the Court stated also contradicted Soeth’s testimony. Although of poor quality, it appeared to show that Newmaker who had been tasered multiple times had already fallen to the street when he was shot. The Court thus held that officer Soeth was not entitled to Qualified immunity as there were material issues of fact including both officers credibility which were for a jury to decide. Read Full Opinion here.

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police brutality signPolice misconduct lawsuits cost New York City $ 228.5 million last fiscal year according to the recently released Mayor’s Management Report. This amount accounts for a third of all city lawsuits.  As a comparison this number was $86.5 million in 2005.  In a recent article, the Gothamist explains that this staggering number is not related to recent cases but to older ones.  Some cases can take up to 10 years to reach a conclusion. For example cases of police brutality and mistreatment during the 2004 Republican National Convention cost the city half a billion dollars over the years and took 10 years to be resolved. Often one big profile case can also represent a big chunk of the yearly amount. During the last fiscal year, for example, the city paid $40 million for 5 men wrongly convicted for the murder of a taxi driver in the Bronx.

In an attempt to reduce this ballooning amount, the city comptroller Scott Stringer has launched ClaimStat, a new program to record and analyze lawsuits against the police. With ClaimStat, Stringer is trying to figure out what is the most advantageous for the city: settle or fight a lawsuit. The NYPD also created a legal unit to assist the NYC Corporation Counsel in investigating cases.

Recently complaints for police brutality in New York City have been globally declining. The Mayor’s Management Report indicates that during the last fiscal year there were 4,711 complaints to the Civilian Complaint Review Board and 2,933 lawsuits against the NYPD compared to respectively 5,700 and 3,600 in 2012.  However despite a decline in CCRB complaints the number of substantiated complaints increased significantly. From 315  during the 2014 fiscal year it jumped to 531 last year.

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altonsterlingPhilando CastilleAlton Sterling and Philando Castille are the two most recent victims of an epidemic of police brutality and discrimination against African Americans all over this country. These two men died this week in two separate incidents during which both of them were literally executed by the police.

On Tuesday a gruesome video circulated among social media and news channels showing two policemen from Baton Rouge, Louisiana murdering Alton Sterling while they were  holding him down on the ground. The video shows that he was not resisting.

A day later, Philando Castille was in his car with his wife and daughter in Falcon Heighth, Minesota, when he got stopped by the police for a a defective tail light. As he was reaching to his back pocket get his I.D in his wallet the cop  shot him for no reason. His wife streamed a video live on Facebook as he was dying in front of her.