YOU'RE NOT ONE OF US. ON THE WRONG TEAM. From [HERE] and [MORE] A Black NYPD officer who was awarded $15 million after 12 white cops beat him in his home and detained him in 2010 had his award slashed by a judge this week to $5.4 million.
A federal judge reduced the amount on Friday — two years after a federal jury awarded plaintiff Larry Jackson $15 million, which the cops accused of attacking the 18-year NYPD veteran claimed was too excessive.
On Feb. 3, 2016, a jury found in favor of Jackson and awarded him $12.5 million in compensatory damages and $2.6 million in punitive damages.
The cops — who had to individually pay $50,000 to $300,000 in the damages out of their own pocket — demanded the judge lower the damage amount, claiming that the jury’s decision exceeded what would normally be granted in a case like Jackson’s.
None of the cops who testified at the trial admitted striking Jackson with a baton or handcuffing him. One officer, John Czulada, said he punched Jackson in the face because he felt threatened by Jackson.
Judge Pamela Chen offered to lower the compensatory damages to $2.75 million — an amount usually given in similar cases.
But she kept the punitive damages the same.
“Here, defendants’ conduct was reprehensible; their actions were both violent and malicious,” Chen wrote. “This was not an act of mere negligence; it was an assault intended to cause (Jackson) significant physical and emotional harm.”
“(Their) violent and malicious assault on (Jackson) is wholly improper behavior for law enforcement officers and warrants a strong message of deterrence and censure,” she wrote.
All process, no substance.
Jackson was beaten by cops and falsely arrested on Aug. 22, 2010, when, during a birthday party for his daughter at his Queens home, his wife called 911 to report that an armed man had crashed the party.
Jackson was off-duty at around 1:40 a.m., winding down a barbecue for his daughter's birthday, when he said a man broke a bottle in the street in front of his house. He and his girlfriend confronted the man and told him they didn't "want any trouble." Then Jackson realized that he he had a gun tucked in his waistband, according to the lawsuit, and a crowd of 15-20 strange men appeared on the block, some armed with sticks and bats. His girlfriend, Charlene Strong, ran inside and called 911, while Jackson talked the group into leaving.
The first two cops who responded from Jamaica's 113th Precinct arrived after the crowd had cleared out, and allegedly ignored Strong and Jackson's statements that Jackson was a fellow officer. The sounds of a fight inside Jackson's house prompted one cop, John Czulada, to run inside, and when Jackson followed, he says the cop told him to "back the fuck up."
Jackson's plea, "Dude, it's my house, and I'm a police officer too," was met with a baton to the throat by Czulada.
From there, a crowd of as many as 70 officers convened on the house as a growing number of cops took shots at Jackson with batons and fists, one placed him in a chokehold, others arrested three partygoers, and finally, officers piled onto him in the street, ignoring his complaint that he was having trouble breathing, and pepper-spraying him.
He told them that he was “MOS,” meaning a member of the service, and was cooperating.But cops repeatedly struck him with their collapsible batons and lifted him up “with an ASP baton around his neck,” according to court papers.
“(The officer) kept telling (Jackson) to relax, and plaintiff kept responding that he was relaxed, but that he could not breathe,” court papers state.
During the struggle, Jackson and one cop fell onto a couch, knocking Jackson’s 79-year-old mother-in-law unconscious, according to court papers.
The cops struck Jackson “upwards of 20, 30 times” before he was brought outside his home, thrown to the ground on his stomach and handcuffed.
Still, Jackson kept his composure, claiming, “Guys, this was unnecessary...I’m a fellow cop, too,” according to court papers.
"Yeah, you motherfucking dirtbag," Czulada purportedly said as Jackson lay handcuffed. "If you are really a cop, where's your ID?"
When an officer fished out the ID from Jackson's pocket, officers scattered, according to the suit. Jackson was still arrested, ultimately held in custody for 20 hours, and treated for a fractured hand, before being freed without charges. He says that throughout the police riot at his house, no supervising officers intervened, and that despite initial interviews with the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau and Queens district attorneys, no investigators ever followed up and no cop involved was disciplined. Jackson remains on the force. A version of his lawsuit filed in 2013 stated that his right hand is still stiff from being broken, and that he would likely never be able to return to full duty, but he has since regained that status, according to his lawyer.
Of the 13 officers named in the suit, jurors found 4 cops directly involved in beating him, and 3 in falsely arresting him, but agreed that 8 were liable for failing to stop the beatdown, and that 12 were liable for damages.
In the lawsuit, Jackson's lawyers claimed that the botched response, which allowed the gunman to go free, was the result of the city's "long history of discriminating against its African-American male police officers" and its 2008 elimination of "Confrontational Situations" training. Several of the responding officers, including Czulada and the other initial responder, were white men, according to the suit. The lack of subsequent accountability showed "an outrageous and systematic pattern of civil rights violations, oppression, bad faith and cover-up," the lawyers wrote.
"They would treat a dog better than they treated Jackson," Jackson's lawyer and former cop Eric Sanders told the New York Times. "I’ve never seen anything like this and I’ve been around law enforcement a long time. It's disgraceful what they did."
“These cops are still not being held accountable for the damage done to this man. It’s ironic that four years prior to Eric Garner’s death, Larry Jackson survived after being choked and beaten by fellow officers. Councilman Rory Lancman is seeking information from the Civilian Complaint Review Board regarding chokeholds. Well, Councilman Lancman can read abut Larry’s case. He’s the one that survived.”
According to the federal lawsuit, Jackson suffered lasting physical and emotional injuries from the attack and was told he would never recover full strength in one hand.
He was suspended and lost 20 vacation days during a departmental trial. None of the officers who attacked him was charged criminally or disciplined by the department.
Jackson has a month to except the reduced reward, according to court papers. If he doesn’t accept, a new trial could be scheduled.