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Police Brutality Case in New York City Reminds Taxpayers of Why They Shouldn’t Be Liable for the Abuses of Corrupt Cops

New York City has reportedly resolved a suit brought by a homeless man who had filed a federal lawsuit after he was assaulted by a police officer while on the subway. Taxpayers will pay the victim $135,000 in compensation for the beating, and the officer responsible for the incident will not be punished.

The incident took place on May 25, 2020, during which NYPD (New York Police Department) Officer Adonis Lang and his partner assaulted the man, who has gone by the name “Joseph” to avoid retaliation. It initially resulted in Joseph being detained and charged with felony assault, when one of the officers claimed that he had kicked one of his hands as they tried to put him in handcuffs at the Midtown train station.

But the bodycam footage captured a different altercation that was not in line with the police report. The City wrote:

“But in body camera footage first published by THE CITY weeks after the incident, cops could be seen punching Joseph in the face twice and kicking his belongings off the 6 train at 51st Street at around 12:30 a.m.

“NYPD Officer Adonis Long was also seen hitting Joseph with pepper spray and putting one hand around his neck.”

The video captured Joseph crying and screaming “Stop!” as he was held against a wall and surrounded by officers. He was bleeding on one side of his scalp. He admitted to The City that he felt as if his “heart was going to fall out” in the course of the encounter.

Joseph's offense? He was accused of taking up more than one train seat, which was what prompted officers to approach Joseph in the first place. It's great to know that the officers are at work preventing these criminals from sitting on the train the wrong way, isn't it?

The Manhattan District Attorney's office dropped the assault charges against Joseph after reports about the footage came out.

Joseph's lawsuit claimed that NYPD Officer Long injured his right hand after punching the victim several times while making a false arrest based on fabricated evidence. The attorney representing the plaintiff, Michael Lumer, noted that Long is not obliged to pay any part of the settlement.

“This settlement speaks volumes for why some cops continue to lie and brutalize,” the lawyer said. “By paying for Adonis Long's misconduct without demanding any contribution, the city is effectively endorsing his behavior.”

He further said, “Until there's real accountability and discipline, bad cops will continue to violate the law without consequence.”

The City noted:

“All told, New York City has doled out more than $1.1 billion for NYPD misconduct cases since 2015, more than any other city agency, according to the city comptroller, which tracks payouts.

“In the majority of NYPD cases, police officers themselves are not on the hook to cover any civil payout, according to research by UCLA law professor Joanna Schwartz. Only 35 police officers had to personally pay during the study’s six-year period from 2006 to 2011. Of those cops, half paid less than $2,125, the study found.”

It appears that Lumer is right in his opinion about the situation. Long is not likely to face any real punishment for abusing the rights of an American citizen. However, who is the one paying the cost? The citizens of New York City. They voted in favor of law and order but may not have thought that “law and order” does not apply to police officers or other officials of the government with the power to violate our rights whenever they feel it is appropriate.

Of course, the most obvious aspect to be noted is the fact that this particular city, as with many others, is run by Democrats who claim to be against police brutality. But the issues remain. In reality, the only reason this isn't more newsworthy is because Officer Long is black and Joseph has a white complexion. If their races were reversed—well, you know the rest of the story, don't you?

The ethnicities of the people in a debate should be irrelevant. This is about statism. It's about the government protecting its agents. If leaders aren't willing to implement measures that ensure their employees are accountable for their actions when they abuse their authority, they are not worthy to hold posts of power. This isn't likely to change any time soon.

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