A federal jury was asked Wednesday whether two Suffolk County deputy sheriffs were thugs who took part in the brutal beating of a prisoner who simply asked to put on a pair of socks, or hardworking law enforcement officers who were lawfully restraining a belligerent man.
The differing views of the actions of the deputies came from attorneys for the two sides in the summations of a seven-day civil-rights trial brought by the former prisoner, Perrim Anderson, 39, of Hempstead, in federal District Court in Central Islip.
Anderson seeks a total of $2.7 million in damages for the injuries he allegedly suffered from Suffolk County and the two deputies, Vincent Aparicio and Maria McAuley. The injuries were to his face, neck, knee and back, as well as continuing psychological trauma, Anderson has said.
This is the second trial in the case. In April, a federal judge threw out on technical grounds a $65,000 damage award Anderson had gotten from another jury, which found Aparicio culpable, but not McAuley.
In both trials, Anderson has alleged that under federal law his civil rights were violated and under state law the deputies battered him after he had been arrested in 2008 for not answering a harassment warrant brought by a former girlfriend.
Anderson testified that the beating began shortly after he had been searched at the lockup at the County District Court in Central Islip, and had asked to put his socks back on.
Anderson said that Aparicio told him he should know that he couldn't do so because he had been in the lockup before.
After he truthfully replied, "No, actually I have never been here, sir," Anderson said, Aparicio took him out of his cell and the beating started. During the incident, Anderson alleges that McAuley kicked him in the back.
My client "had the bald-faced audacity to ask a question," said Anderson's attorney, Frederick Brewington, of Hempstead, in his summation. For this, he lost "his right to be treated humanely, appropriately, respectfully."
But in her summation, county attorney Arlene Zwilling said if the case had any victims it was the deputies, who have had false charges 'hanging over their heads" for the past five years.
Zwilling said Anderson was blatantly exaggerating his injuries and the deputies acted appropriately to restrain Anderson using necessary, but not excessive force after Anderson refused to comply with instructions.
"You aren't doing [anything] to me," Anderson defiantly told the deputies, Zwilling said.
Jury deliberations, which began late Wednesday, are expected to continue Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Gary Brown.