A Recent History of NYPD Brutality

Michael Stewart

Date: September 1983

19-year-old Michael Stewart was arrested for spray painting grafitti on a wall of the First Avenue subway station in Manhattan. During an altercation with police, Stewart somehow lost consciousness and died. The case was taken to a grand jury in October 1983, but was dismissed seven months later because one of the jurors inexplicably began their own private investigation. In February 1984, a second grand jury indicted three officers with criminally negligent homicide, perjury, and assault; three other officers were indicted for perjury. Despite the testimony of a witness who said that he saw an officer choke Stewart with a nightstick, all six officers were acquitted by an all-white jury in November 1985.

Stewart's family sued the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the officers involved for $40 million. They settled out of court for $1.7 million in 1990.

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