Friday, October 24, 2008



Posted: 4:29 am
October 24, 2008

A gang of rogue cops clobbered a Brooklyn man they saw smoking a joint, then sodomized him with a walkie-talkie antenna during a broad-daylight attack in a subway station, law-enforcement sources and the victim's lawyer said yesterday.

The alleged attack, reminiscent of the 1997 police assault on Abner Louima, put Michael Mineo, 24, in Brookdale Hospital for four days.

"This is one of the most horrendous and grievous cases I've ever seen," said Mineo's lawyer, Stephen Jackson, who will file a notice of claim against the city next week.

In the Louima case, the victim was black, the attackers white. In this case, Mineo is white and the officers are black, Hispanic and white.

Law-enforcement sources said the investigation was focusing on five cops - four patrol officers from the 71st Precinct and a transit officer - all of whom were characterized as relatively inexperienced.

The officer who allegedly committed the sodomy is believed to be in his 20s, with 2½ years on the job.

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said the department's initial investigation turned up little to support Mineo's story.

"Police officers grappled with an individual who they observed smoking marijuana after he had fled and resisted being handcuffed," said Browne. "His assertion that he was sodomized is not supported by independent civilian witnesses."

But law-enforcement sources told a different story to The Post - specifically noting that at least one witness reported seeing Mineo's exposed buttocks as cops held him down. A co-worker at the Jiggaman tattoo parlor on Jay Street in Downtown Brooklyn said Mineo had been released from the hospital, but was in pain and did not appear to be improving.

"He's getting pale," said Keasha Brown, 25. "He's looking sick. Those people are dangerous. It makes me sick."

Mineo was walking from his home to the Prospect Park subway station on Empire Boulevard at Flatbush Avenue at about 2 p.m. on Oct. 15 when two uniformed officers spotted him allegedly smoking a joint.

They chased him into the station, and at some point, Mineo allegedly swallowed the marijuana. Five cops tackled him near a token booth, where they beat him and stood on his neck, said Jackson and the law-enforcement sources.

One officer then allegedly pulled Mineo's pants down and shoved a police radio's antenna into his rectum.

The cops then hauled a bleeding Mineo into a police car and issued him a desk-appearance ticket before cutting him loose, Jackson said.

They also warned him not to report the incident or they would upgrade his charge to a felony, according to the attorney.

Jackson said his client heard one of the officers yell, "No! Don't do it!" as his pants were being pulled down. His roommate and co-worker, Jason Amolsch, found him yelling that the "cops violated him."

Sources said the officers are still on active duty.

"It's alarming that you have police officers out there who, for all intents and purposes, are guilty of gang rape," said Jackson.

Mineo has a pending assault case in Brooklyn.

Additional reporting by Tom Liddy & Sean Gardiner

and from The New York Times-

October 24, 2008

N.Y. Police Investigate Allegation of Brutality


Brooklyn prosecutors and police internal affairs officers are investigating allegations that uniformed New York City police officers beat and sodomized a man in a Brooklyn subway station, officials and lawyers for the man said on Thursday.

The lawyers identified the man as Michael Mineo, 24, of Brooklyn, an employee at a Brooklyn tattoo parlor. He was issued a summons for disorderly conduct on Oct. 15, they said, after three officers pinned him to the ground and another repeatedly shoved an object — possibly a police radio or a baton — into his rectum.

On Thursday evening, Paul J. Browne, the Police Department's chief spokesman, acknowledged that the department's Internal Affairs Bureau was investigating the claims but said that the facts did not support the accusation.

"Police officers grappled with an individual, who they observed smoking marijuana, after he had fled and resisted being handcuffed," Mr. Browne said in an e-mail message. "His assertion that he was sodomized is not supported by independent civilian witnesses on the scene. The complaint is being investigated by I.A.B. and the district attorney's office."

Jerry Schmetterer, a spokesman for the district attorney's office, said, "We don't comment on investigations."

Mr. Browne said that there were five officers in all at the location with Mr. Mineo, four of them assigned to the 71st Precinct and one a Transit Bureau officer. None have had their duty status changed.

The allegations recalled the case of Abner Louima, a Haitian immigrant who was tortured with a broken broomstick in 1997. One police officer was sentenced to 30 years in prison in that attack, and a second served five years for perjury.

The lawyers for Mr. Mineo, Stephen C. Jackson and Kevin L. Mosley, contended that unlike the Louima case, in which Mr. Louima was taken to a room in a police station house, their client was assaulted about 12:30 p.m. in a place busy with travelers and with a clerk in a nearby subway booth.

Mr. Jackson said his client is white and the officers were white, black and Hispanic.

"He sustained serious injuries to the rectal area and internally," said Mr. Jackson, who said he planned to hold a news conference on Monday to make Mr. Mineo's medical records public. "The wounds are very serious and very nasty and are going to require extensive rehab and treatment, as well as psychological treatment."

Mr. Jackson said that the attack occurred at the Prospect Park station of the B and Q lines and that afterward Mr. Mineo used his cellphone to call his boss, who drove to the station and then drove Mr. Mineo to Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center. He said a hospital administrator notified the Brooklyn district attorney's office.

Andrew Rubin, a hospital spokesman, said Mr. Mineo arrived there as a patient on Oct. 15. He declined to say when he was discharged. Mr. Mosley said that Mr. Mineo spent five days in the hospital.

Mr. Rubin said, "The only thing we can say is that the patient was physically in the hospital, yes. We can't tell you why, we can't tell you how he was treated."

Asked if the hospital notified prosecutors about the case, Mr. Rubin said he had no knowledge of that, adding, "That is not the administrator of the hospital's position to do that."

Mr. Browne, when asked about injuries to Mr. Mineo, said, "We have no record of his injuries." He said police officials were "waiting for the hospital to release them to us."

A woman at Jiggaman Tattoos in Downtown Brooklyn, where Mr. Mineo works, and who identified herself as Mr. Mineo's sister said "he's not actually doing O.K." when asked about him on Thursday night. The woman, who did not give her name, said a lawyer had told her and Mr. Mineo's friends not to talk about what had happened.

In interviews on Thursday, Mr. Jackson gave an account he said his client provided. He said Mr. Mineo, who had left his house to go to work, was "accosted" by officers as he approached the subway station. The officers pursued him, and Mr. Mineo "hurriedly walked down the stairs" of the station, Mr. Jackson said. The clerk's booth is at the foot of the stairs at one of the station's two entrances.

He said that the officers pushed Mr. Mineo to the ground before he reached the turnstiles, and that one officer placed his knee on Mr. Mineo's neck as others punched and kicked him.

"At least three held him down," Mr. Jackson said. At one point, an officer pulled his client's baggy pants down and Mr. Mineo screamed. Mr. Mineo saw that officer reach for his radio on his gun belt, Mr. Jackson said. He said one officers yelled, "Don't do it! Don't do it! No, no, no, no." But his client was being assaulted. He said the entire episode lasted about two minutes.

Afterward, Mr. Mosley said, the officers took Mr. Mineo to a police car, gave him a summons for disorderly conduct and let him go.

Mr. Jackson promised to make a copy of that summons public on Monday. He said that it indicated the name of one of the officers, but that he did not know the names of the others. He said there were several witnesses, but he did not provide their names. He added that he was seeking videotape evidence.

Jason Amolsch, the owner of Jiggaman Tattoos, said on Thursday that he lives with Mr. Mineo and that both of them were headed to the shop on Oct. 15. He said Mr. Mineo left home a few minutes earlier.

By the time Mr. Amolsch reached the station, he found Mr. Mineo outside, bloodied and screaming that the officers had "shoved their walkie-talkie" into his rectum. Mr. Mineo then told him, "I've got to go to the hospital." A few days later, after he was released from the hospital, Mr. Mineo came to the shop. "He tried to work, but he couldn't," Mr. Amolsch said. "He kept crying."

Mr. Browne said that officers interviewed two civilian witnesses, whom he declined to identify, who gave accounts that contradicted the allegation.

Mr. Browne said one of the witnesses told of hearing Mr. Mineo yelling, "Stop Tasering me!"

But Mr. Browne said that the same witness said the officers did not have Tasers. None of the officers present were equipped with them, Mr. Browne said.

"Witnesses said they heard him say two things, that he was being sodomized and Tasered, and they saw neither," Mr. Browne said.

A senior police official, speaking on background because the case is under investigation, said that two witnesses, one an adult and the other a 12-year-old, both saw the arrest.

The official said that the police were continuing to investigate to ensure that the officers had not done anything wrong, but were satisfied at this point that there had not been any sodomy.

A person briefed on the inquiry said investigators had determined that Mr. Mineo had suffered some kind of rectal injury and had blood in his underwear, but have not found any evidence that the injury had been sustained in an altercation with the police.

As part of the inquiry, however, one investigator said police officials had removed an item, which he would not identify, from one of the officer's lockers and sent it for testing.

The testing has not been completed.

Deirdre Parker, a spokeswoman for New York City Transit, said she could not say who was working in the booth on the afternoon of Oct. 15 or if that person saw anything.

"We have no comment except to say that we are cooperating with the N.Y.P.D.," said Ms. Parker.

Mr. Mineo was arrested on April 18 at the tattoo parlor on charges that he and four others kicked and punched a man, gashing his head and knocking out a tooth, according to a criminal complaint. Another victim in the confrontation said Mr. Mineo struck him with a wooden stool, the complaint said. A child was in the store at the time, an official said, and Mr. Mineo was charged with gang assault and endangering the welfare of a child, among other charges. The case is still open.

Mr. Mosley said "there was no gang assault," but he said he was not representing Mr. Mineo in that case.

Two decades ago, Mr. Jackson was the lawyer for C. Vernon Mason, one of three principal advisers to Tawana Brawley, a 15-year-old black girl from Wappingers Falls, N.Y., whose claims of being abducted and raped by a group of white men were found to be a hoax. Mr. Mason, along with the Rev. Al Sharpton and Alton H. Maddox Jr., was sued for defamation by a prosecutor, Steven A. Pagones, whom they had accused of being one of the rapists.

At one point during court proceedings, Mr. Jackson was briefly jailed for contempt of court. A jury awarded Mr. Pagones $345,000 from the three men.

Ann Farmer, William K. Rashbaum and Nate Schweber contributed reporting.

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