A federal jury in Central Islip agreed Thursday with a Hempstead man that he had been beaten up by a Suffolk County deputy sheriff and awarded him $95,000 in damages.
The verdict came less than a day after the jury began deliberating in the civil rights suit brought by Perrim Anderson, 39, who sought $2.7 million in damages for face, neck, back and knee injuries as well as psychological trauma he said was caused by two deputy sheriffs, Vincent Aparicio and Maria McAuley, after his 2008 arrest.
The jury found Aparicio, but not McAuley, had violated Anderson's civil rights and state laws against battery.
It gave Anderson $20,000 in compensation and $75,000 in punitive damages. A county attorney said before the trial that the county would pay for any awards against the deputies.
"My aim is to send a message that this should not happen to anybody ever again, and the message was sent," Anderson said after the verdict.
County attorney Arlene Zwilling asked U.S. Magistrate Gary Brown to set aside the verdict against Aparicio, while Anderson's attorney, Frederick Brewington of Hempstead, asked Brown to reinstate charges against McAuley.
The deputies and Zwilling declined to comment Thursday.
Brewington said his client has been vindicated: "We brought the case to vindicate Mr. Anderson and prove that this had happened."
The jury had been asked to decide whether the deputy sheriffs were thugs who brutally beat a prisoner simply because he asked to put on a pair of socks, or hardworking law enforcement officers who were lawfully restraining a belligerent man.
This was the second trial in the case. In April, a federal judge threw out on technical grounds a $65,000 damage award from another jury, which also found Aparicio culpable but not McAuley.
Anderson had been arrested on charges he had not answered a harassment warrant brought by a former girlfriend.
He testified the beating began shortly after he had been searched at the lockup at Suffolk County District Court in Central Islip. When he asked to put his socks back on, Anderson said, Aparicio told him he should know he couldn't do so because he had been in the lockup before.
When he replied he had never been in lockup, Anderson testified, Aparicio took him out of his cell and beat him. Anderson said McAuley kicked him in the back.
In her summation, Zwilling said the deputies used necessary but not excessive force to restrain Anderson.
With Ellen Yan