Monday, September 20, 2010
Brooklyn cops attacked us at Labor Day BBQ, lawsuit claims
An end-of-summer Labor Day barbecue turned ugly when Brooklyn cops rushed in, hitting partygoers with batons and dousing them with pepper spray, witnesses told the Daily News.
Some revelers were knocked into a backyard pool during the Sept. 5 melee at an East Flatbush home, witnesses claim.
"The police were grabbing people and beating people who were trying to leave," said Japel Filiaci, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society who attended the shindig.
"I was shocked. When I saw the helicopter overhead, I thought I was in the middle of a made-for-TV movie.
"There was nothing going on to justify this nonsense," Filiaci said.
A group of 10 partygoers plans to file a $50 million lawsuit today against the city and the NYPD, claiming cops overreacted when they shut down the barbecue at Rodney and Kesha Terry's home.
It's an annual party, and many guests were civil servants who came with spouses and children.
One guest suffered a broken leg during the brawl and another had broken ribs, according to their lawyer, Sanford Rubenstein. Other plaintiffs were bandaged and had bruises that were still visible Wednesday, more than a week after the fight.
Six of the 10 suing the city were arrested in the fight, mainly on misdemeanor charges. Louis Mabry, whose ribs were broken, was charged with felony assault on a police officer.
An NYPD spokeswoman said the incident is under investigation.
"It is unacceptable for law-abiding citizens to be assaulted by police and then falsely arrested to cover up these assaults," Rubenstein said.
Rubenstein said the partygoers were complying with orders to move double-parked cars and clear the sidewalk when an NYPD lieutenant told cops to move in around 2:30 a.m.
A guest who works as a court officer in the Bronx and was not arrested said the lieutenant announced, "'The party's f------ over.'"
"Then I seen a lot of people getting Maced - men, women and children," said the man, who asked not to be named.
The cops pushed their way through the crowd of about 125, swinging batons and knocking several people into the inground swimming pool, Rubenstein said.
It was the second time cops were at the house that night. About 9:30 p.m., cops asked the owners to turn down the music, which they did, Rubenstein said.
"It wasn't a party of young people with a ton of testosterone," said Filiaci, who went to the party with her mother and daughter.
"I hear clients tell these stories daily describing these scenarios, but nothing could compare to being in the middle of one," Filiaci said. "I was outraged."