Body camera video obtained by Daily News shows a 23-year-old man falling down a flight of stairs after his lawyer said he was pushed by two police officers in what he calls a case of brutality sparked by a dispute over a lost green card.
Kenniel Thomas landed on his bike and had back problems after a May 3 collision last year, including possible nerve damage, attorney Andrew Stengel said.
Stengel filed a lawsuit Tuesday night accusing police of excessive force and wrongful arrest in connection with an incident at Precinct 69 in Canarsie, Brooklyn.
“The child did nothing wrong,” Stengel said. “He makes a gesture like, ‘Why are you doing this?’ He is annoyed. And both push him.
“They bullied him.”
As a final insult, as Thomas lay on the ground, another officer got into an NYPD SUV parked perpendicular to the curb and started the engine, blasting exhaust fumes in Thomas’ face, Stengel said.
He was taken to Brookdale University Hospital for treatment and then charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct, accusing him of yelling at and insulting the police.
Four months later, the charges were dropped. Stengel said that after the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office handed over the video to him, the prosecutor’s office deliberately delayed the case long enough to violate rules giving Thomas the right to a speedy trial.
The district attorney’s office said they could not comment on the closed case.
Police also declined to answer questions about the incident, including whether the accused officers were Sgt. Miguel Vivas, a 10-year veteran, or Officer Kion Gale, who has been with the police for less than two years, will face charges. The officers could not be reached for comment.
Stengel said they should be arrested.
“There should be criminal consequences behind an obvious deliberate attack,” Stengel said. “Kenniel, standing on the steps leading to the station, did not pose a threat to the police. There is no doubt that Gale and Vivas intended to harm Kenniel by pushing him down the steps onto the sidewalk.
“They succeeded and unfortunately Kenniel’s injuries are not going away anytime soon.”
Stengel said his client, who was born in Jamaica, went to the station to report the loss of his green card. According to Stengel, he kept asking for help, but the officers kept refusing.
Their body-worn video shows officers escorting Thomas out of the police station.
Thomas, a small 5ft 6in and 138lbs, raised his arms but did not appear to be moving towards the officers.
The video shows him being pushed and then falling down five steps. He hit the bike on the pavement.
Thomas, now 24, is being held on Rikers Island on $50,000 bail after being arrested in September for possession of a gun — a charge that Stengel says is unrelated to the lawsuit.
“He didn’t do anything wrong in that area,” Stengel said. “He shouldn’t have been treated like that.”
The lawsuit also mentions the city’s Department of Corrections, which is accused of not providing Thomas with proper medical care other than once a month physical therapy. The Corrections Health Service said it could not comment on the prisoner’s medical care.