Perez v. City of New York, 06 CV 6467 (LBS) (S.D.N.Y.)

Nature of Claims: Excessive force by jail staff. This action, filed in August 2006, seeks damages for the August 2004 beating of Anthony Perez by the Emergency Services Unit (“ESU”) of the Department of Correction at the George Motchan Detention Center on Rikers Island. Mr. Perez alleges that during an institutional search, he and other prisoners were told to put their hands behind their heads. He coughed, and an officer told him to “cover his fucking mouth.” He said he couldn’t because he had been told to keep his hands behind his head. The officer called him a “smart ass” and ordered him into his cell, where he was beaten by two officers, sustaining a perforated eardrum, hearing loss, and a herniated disk in his neck. This is the first damage case filed with Ingles co-counsel in the wake of Ingles (see above). In addition to obtaining redress for Mr. Perez, PRP hoped in this case to shed light on the operations of the ESU, which is a major perpetrator of unjustified physical abuse in the jails, and whose practices are not specifically addressed in the settlement in Ingles. In light of the long-standing tolerance by policymakers for ESU’s abuses, we included claims against New York City and supervisory officials including the Commissioner of Correction. The City did not contest Mr. Perez’s allegations, instead settling the case for $175,000 before the commencement of discovery.

Current Status: Settled.

Reported Decisions: None.