A Recent History of NYPD Brutality

Patrick Dorismond

Date: March 2000

The 26-year-old security guard and father of two was killed by an undercover officer who approached Dorismond and his friend as they stood in front of the Distinguished Wakamba Cocktail Lounge in Hell's Kitchen. The officer asked where he and his partners could buy marijuana, and after a struggle Officer Anthony Vasquez shot Dorismond in the chest. Police claimed that Dorismond was angered by the proposition, and alleged that he swung on an officer, attacking him along with his friend, Kevin Kaiser. Vasquez claimed he was coming to the aid of a partner, and that he heard one of the men yell, "Get his gun!," so he identified himself as an officer of the law after drawing his weapon. Vasquez claimed that Dorismond grabbed the gun, causing it to discharge, striking him in the chest.

Kaiser claimed that the officers never identified themselves, and that the officer that initially approached them was aggressive and started the fight by hitting Dorismond first. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who was in the middle of a Senate campaign, angered many by releasing Dorismond's sealed juvenile delinquency record. His office defended the decision, claiming that right to privacy ends with an individual's death. Giuliani claimed he released the record to prove that Dorismond was "no altar boy" when, in fact, Dorismond had been an altar boy and had attended the same Catholic school as Giuliani.

In July 2000, a grand jury decided not to indict Vasquez, calling the shooting accidental. However, in March of 2003, the NYPD agreed to pay Dorismond's family a $2.25 million settlement for a suit they filed against the City of New York.

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