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Can Even a Supreme Court Judge Get Justice against NYPD Police Brutality?
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A Queens County Supreme Court Judge is claiming in Federal Court that New York City police crushed his larynx in an attack, and later tried to cover it up. Judge Thomas D. Raffaele, 70, at least has the clout and position to ensure the police’s misdeeds won’t be buried. He is claiming $300,000 is due him for the attack on June 1, 2012 in Jackson Heights.

The incident regarded a homeless man who though handcuffed was being attacked by police, while a crowd of onlookers pressed up and recorded the incident with cell phones. “I beg you please stop, I beg you please stop,” the homeless man said ineffectually. Moved by compassion and his sense of authority, the judge called to the police and urged the crowd to back off. At this point an unknown officer “charged up” shoved him and “using a karate chop-like” attack, hit him on the neck, as Raffaele said in the complaint, as as Courthouse News Service reported.


Checking into a hospital later, the judge discovered that he had a crushed larynx.

Nevertheless, he says police refused to take an official statement from him and also hid the identity of the officer who attacked him. Meeting with New York City Civilian Complain Review Board, Queens County Assistant District Attorney Daniel O’Leary, and the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau were all ineffectual, with assistant District Attorney Peter A. Crusco claiming “there was not enough evidence to prosecute,” though the incident was caught on security cam. Furthermore, Commissioner Ray Kelly failed to follow through “after stating to the press that he would ‘check into it.’”

A scary prospect, nevertheless, that a federal judge can’t get justice or even file a complaint and have it make a difference. If such is the case, what hope have the rest of us when police get brutal? As for as the police, they claim they merely touched him on the chest without injury, and that his throat hurt from yelling.

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The judge is seeking $300,000 for conspiracy, unreasonable force, battery, and violation of his constitutional rights, with lawyer Barak P. Cardenas of Cardenas Islam & Associates representing him.


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