New York City mom plans $10 million lawsuit against police after arrest for improperly wearing face mask
A New York City mother who believes she has been wrongly arrested for not wearing a face mask on the subway platform intends to file a $ 10 million lawsuit against the city for excessive violence says her lawyer.
22-year-old Kaleemah Rozier said she was on May 13 with her 5-year-old son at Atlantic Avenue - Barclays Center in Brooklyn when she was contacted by several unidentified NYPD officials.
"I just want justice," Rozier told ABC News in a phone interview Wednesday.
The police said Rozier did not properly wear a face mask over his mouth and nose. When asked to follow orders or be "kicked out of the station", Rozier allegedly refused and abused the officials, a NYPD spokeswoman said.
PHOTO: Lawyer from left to right, Sanford Rubenstein, with Kaleemah, civil rights activist Rev. Kevin McCall and Camren Spaulding in the lower right. (Courtesy of Sanford Rubenstein)
Wearing a face mask in public is a recommendation from the disease control and prevention centers to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, it is mandatory in the state of New York if it is unable to stay at least a meter away from others in April, including public transportation.
A spectator began to record the incident when the crowd of officials accompanied Rozier and their little boy up the stairs of the subway station.
MORE: The disturbing video shows a man screaming for help while police officers are aggressively arrested for smoking weeds
The police informed ABC New York station WABC after the arrest that Rozier had threatened to cough officials, but the authorities did not mention this element of the case in their statement to ABC News on Wednesday. Rozier is reported to have told the New York Daily News that she had made the threat, but said that this only happened after the police followed her through the station.
While they were on the upper level of the station, the encounter quickly escalated when Rozier's son was "pulled away from her" and forced to the ground, and an official put a knee on the back of her neck, according to a message to ABC News and is expected to be submitted on Thursday morning.
"Don't do this in front of your little mother," an official said to Rozier.
PHOTO: A person with a mask rides the subway in New York on June 8, 2020 during rush hour on the first day of the first phase of reopening after the Coronavirus was blocked. (David Dee Delgado / Getty Images)
The 22-year-old Rozier, who claims that she has not resisted, said that she was "pushed into the back of the head and neck, pulled her arm and twisted, pushed her knee back, and handcuffed her. " "The damage report was from at least six police officers.
MORE: Millions of litigation is another hidden cost of police misconduct, legal experts say
According to the announcement, some of Rozier's injuries are "on the neck, back, left wrist, right wrist, left hip and left knee".
The police said in their statement that Rozier "waived her arms and slapped a policeman by the hand. As a result, she was detained and arrested."
The 2-minute video of Rozier's confrontation with the police and the subsequent arrest was later released on social media.
MORE: NYPD official has changed duty after being violently arrested for violating social distance
Shortly after Rozier's arrest, Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned the incident as "just not right" at a press conference and announced that NYPD officials should no longer arrest anyone who does not have a protective face mask.
"However, this is not inadequate for the physical and psychological injuries this mother and her 5-year-old son have suffered as a result of the measures taken by these NYPD officials," said Sanford Rubenstein, a lawyer at Rozier.
PHOTO: Commuters with protective masks get out of a subway car at the 42nd street station in New York on June 9, 2020. (Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Rozier said her son has had trouble sleeping since the incident.
"No amount of money can replace the psychological damage a 5-year-old child suffered when he saw his mother brutalized by the NYPD," said Rev. Kevin McCall, a civil rights activist, in a statement.
Rozier was separated from her son and held in a cell for about four hours before receiving a ticket for three offenses - resistance to arrest, disorderly behavior, and harassment. She currently has no scheduled trial date.
MORE: NYPD arrested more colored people for social detachment and other charges, as data show
"We will review the claim once it is received," said Hazel Crampton-Hays, a spokeswoman for the city's Comptroller's Office.
The Brooklyn prosecutor "is investigating the dismissal of the charges," said Oren Yaniv, a spokesman for the prosecutor.
The Civilian Complaint Review Board received three complaints about this incident, a spokesman told ABC News on Wednesday.
Prior to Rozier's arrest, data released by the Brooklyn Prosecutor's Office and collected by ABC News at other district prosecutor's offices showed that between March 16 and May 5, the NYPD had mainly arrested and summoned blacks and Latinos, because they allegedly violated social distance and others. Of the 374 subpoenas issued during this period, 193 are African-American, 111 Hispanic, 51 white, 14 Asian, and three Indians.
According to the auditor's annual report released last Friday, the city spent $ 220.1 million on reporting claims settlements filed against the NYPD in 2019.
The New York City mother plans to file a $ 10 million lawsuit against the police after she was arrested for not wearing the face mask properly
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