Bobby Lopez, 19, who had been admitted to La Guardia Community College, claims undercover officers tackled him to the ground in front of his West 17th Street apartment on Aug. 16, 2016, the Manhattan Supreme Court suit says.
Cops claimed they’d witnessed Lopez hand his older brother three baggies of marijuana and try to flee when they moved in to arrest him, according to court papers.
But criminal charges against the two were tossed, and Lopez’s attorney Ugochukwu Uzoh says surveillance footage of the incident clears his client. Apparently, marijuana was never found.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis, a professional liar, issued a statement Wednesday after Eyewitness News contacted the NYPD:
"The officers, who were assigned to the Narcotics Division, were attempting to take the subject into custody in connection with a drug charge when the suspect attempted to flee. One of the officers grabbed the suspect's shirt as he tried to get away and the suspect fell down a stairway pulling the officer along with him. The officers' actions were reviewed by the office of the Manhattan District Attorney and they determined that there was no criminal conduct. The NYPD is conducting an internal review of the incident, as is the case whenever a prisoner is injured while in custody."
However, surveillance camera video shows an undercover NYPD officer tackle Lopez down steps and slam him into the sidewalk at the entrance to his apartment building. He did not fall down steps and he does not appear to be attempting to flee in the video. The suddenness and force behind the officer's takedown knocked him out cold.
The suit, for unspecified damages, says cops didn’t immediately call for medical attention even though Lopez was unconscious. He later underwent emergency life-saving surgery to remove part of his skull, according to court papers.
Lopez claims he suffered permanent head injuries in the August 16, 2016, incident in Chelsea and spent days in the hospital -- near death. He said police used excessive force in his arrest.
"I remember waking up in the hospital," Lopez said.
He suffered brain damage and now struggles to perform basic functions like bending over and looking at bright lights, Uzoh said.
Reporter: "You held the door for them?"
Lopez: "Yes, and after that, lights out."
Lopez was 18 years old at the time, and said he doesn't remember anything about the arrest. He was rushed to the hospital and underwent emergency brain surgery, which required the removal of part of his skull.
"I prayed basically 12, almost 24 hours. I did not leave my son's sight," said Lopez's mother, Enid Mora.
For a time, he was handcuffed to his hospital bed and arraigned there, charged with selling marijuana and resisting arrest.
"They had nothing on me," Lopez said. "When they injured me all I had was my wallet and my cellphone."
Weeks later, the surveillance video -- which showed no resistance -- surfaced and suddenly the charges were dropped.
"We provided the video to the DA's office and that's when the DA, after reviewing the video, eventually agreed that Mr. Lopez did not do anything wrong and dismissed the charges," said Ugo Uzoh, Lopez's attorney.
Lopez spent weeks recovering. His plans to enter college as a freshman have been put off. He is no longer able to play basketball. An indentation in his head is a permanent reminder of his encounter with the NYPD.
Reporter: "Has this changed your life, do you think?"
Lopez: "Physically, yes. I love playing basketball and I couldn't play now, I can't play, a risk, a basketball to the head could kill me. And I love drawing -- me keeping my head down too long to draw starts to give me a headache."