Roosevelt Island man: I was beaten by officers
A Roosevelt Island man has filed a notice of claim saying he intends to sue the island's committee of peace officers regarding a Jan. 13 incident in which he said several officers beat and held him for a week -- first in a detention center and then a hospital -- without charging him with a crime, his attorney said Wednesday.
Roosevelt Island resident Anthony Jones, 20, contends he was standing next to a building, waiting for a friend, when several officers wrestled him to the ground; handcuffed and kicked him; and sprayed him with Mace before taking him to a detention center.
From there, he said, he was taken to The Mount Sinai Hospital, first in Queens, and then Manhattan, where he spent several days under guard before being released, according to his mother, Monica Vega and the notice of claim.
Jones was not charged with a crime and has no criminal record, his attorney, Michael Lamonsoff, said in a news conference in his Manhattan office Wednesday.
Vega added that she was not allowed to see her son at the hospital for four days and that officers assigned to watch Jones around the clock threatened to arrest her when she did visit.
"I want them out of my community, away from my children, away from other children," a tearful Vega said at the news conference. Jones, who sat silent during the news conference, was too injured to speak, according to Lamonsoff.
Lamonsoff filed the notice of claim on Jan. 25, alleging false imprisonment, excessive force, battery, assault and civil rights violations. Damages sought, while unspecified, ask compensation for his injuries and "emotional pain and suffering." Lamonsoff said his client suffered from cracked ribs, hemorrhaged lungs and a broken hand.
A Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation spokesman declined to comment, citing pending litigation.
Mount Sinai officials declined to comment on the case and Vega's statement that Jones was kept cuffed to a bed without being washed for days. The Manhattan district attorney's office, which investigates such matters, had not received a criminal complaint about the matter and couldn't comment. Lamonsoff said he plans to file one as soon as Jones is well enough to speak on his own behalf.
The RIOC public safety department employs about 42 people, 37 of whom are officers. Peace officers are not NYPD members but are authorized to arrest and use force, according to the RIOC website. They are accountable to a corporation staffed by nine board members appointed by the governor, the website said. Unlike the NYPD, RIOC has no independent oversight board to oversee complaints, said Frank Farance, a member of the Roosevelt Island resident-led Public Safety Committee. A State Assembly bill introduced in 2010 to create an oversight board for RIOC failed to pass the state legislature, according to Farance.
Farance said the lack of oversight has led to a situation where "parents tell me they worry more about public safety than gangs."
Vega said that she reached out to NYPD on her son's case, but was told RIOC is not subject to the department's Civilian Complaint Review Board, so police couldn't help her. The NYPD didn't comment.
Lamonsoff said that mobile phone footage of the officers' actions exists, but he declined to say when it will be released to the media. Vega did not comment on the alleged footage.