Body camera video obtained by the Daily News shows a 23-year-old man plummeting down a flight of stairs after his lawyer says two police officers pushed him in what he calls a brutality case sparked by a disagreement. about a lost green card.
Kenniel Thomas landed on his bike and has had back problems since the May 3 clash, including possible nerve damage, attorney Andrew Stengel said.
Stengel filed a lawsuit Monday night accusing police of excessive force and wrongful arrest in the incident at the 69th Precinct precinct in Canarsie, Brooklyn.
“The boy did nothing wrong,” Stengel said. “He’s gesturing, like, ‘Why are you doing this?’ He is exasperated. And they both push him.
“They mistreated him.”
In a final indignity, as Thomas lay on the ground, another officer got into an NYPD SUV parked perpendicular to the curb and started the engine, blowing exhaust smoke into Thomas’s face, Stengel said.
He was taken to Brookdale University Hospital for treatment and was later charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct, charged with yelling at and insulting police.
Four months later, the charges were dismissed. Stengel said that after the Brooklyn district attorney’s office turned over the video to him, prosecutors deliberately delayed the case long enough to violate rules that give Thomas the right to a speedy trial.
The prosecutor’s office said it could not comment on a sealed case.
Police also declined to answer questions about the incident, including whether the accused officers, Sgt. Miguel Vivas, a 10-year veteran, or Officer Kion Gayle, who has less than two years on the force, face departmental charges. Officials could not be reached for comment.
Stengel said they should be arrested.
“There must be criminal consequences for the obvious intentional assault,” Stengel said. “Kenniel, standing on the steps leading up to the police station, was not a threat to the police. There is no doubt that Gayle and Vivas intended to hurt Kenniel by pushing him down the steps onto the sidewalk.
“They were successful and unfortunately, Kenniel’s injuries are not going to go away anytime soon.”
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Stengel said his client, who was born in Jamaica, went to the police station to report that he had lost his green card. He kept asking for help, Stengel said, and the officers kept refusing.
His body camera videos show officers escorting Thomas out of the police station.
Thomas, a 5-foot-6, 138-pound little guy, has his hands up but is not seen making a move toward the officers.
The video shows him being pushed and his subsequent fall down five steps. He hit his bike on the sidewalk.
Thomas, now 24, is being held on Rikers Island on $50,000 bond following a gun possession arrest in September, a charge Stengel said is irrelevant to the lawsuit at hand.
“He did nothing wrong inside that compound,” Stengel said. “He shouldn’t have been treated that way.”
The city’s Department of Correction is also named in the lawsuit, accused of failing to provide Thomas with adequate medical care, other than physical therapy once a month. Correctional Health Services said it cannot comment on a prisoner’s medical care.