A Recent History of NYPD Brutality

Michael Mineo

Date: October 2008

Tattoo artist and alleged gang member Michael Mineo was reportedly smoking marijuana at the BMT Brighton Line station in Prospect Park when he was approached by three police officers. Mineo ran into the subway station and hopped the turnstile, but was apprehended. Police say they didn't find any drugs on Mineo, so they issued him a summons for disorderly conduct and released him. However, Mineo claimed that after he was in custody, Officer Richard Kern pulled down his pants and shoved a police radio antenna into his anus. He would later say that it was a baton. Mineo was hospitalized twice with what were described as "rectal tears." A week after the incident, Mineo's attorney's filed a lawsuit against the city of New York on his behalf. Kern was charged with aggravated sexual assault and faced up to 25 years in prison if convicted. Fellow officers Alex Cruz and Andrew Morales were accused of covering up the attack.

In November 2008, transit cop Kevin Maloney told a grand jury that Kern violated Mineo with a police baton, and other witnesses testified that they saw Mineo's bare buttocks and heard him scream, "Don't shove a walkie talkie up my ass!" The trial for Mineo's $440 million case began in January of 2010, and it was a zoo. A juror was dismissed during deliberations for misinforming other jurors about past accusations against Kern. Back in 2007, the city paid half-a-million dollars to settle to excessive force lawsuits filed against Kern. Kern, who called the claim "a complete lie," was cleared of any wrongdoing. All three officers were found not guilty, as the defense used the testimony of a doctor who said that Mineo's injuries were not consistent with the assault he described. Some jurors were convinced that Mineo was simply out to get paid, and though they agreed that police did something wrong when they arrested him, they also agreed that it wasn't sodomy. All of this, despite Maloney's testimony.

The NYPD was criticized for not taking Mineo's claims seriously, and for allowing the three officers to remain on duty for nearly three weeks following the incident.

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