Cop indicted for body slamming woman

August 19, 2008 1:05:47 PM PDT
A policeman who body-slammed an unarmed woman onto a tile floor, breaking her jaw, was indicted Tuesday on a civil rights charge. Yonkers Officer Wayne Simoes' takedown of Irma Marquez on March 3, which was caught by a security camera, amounted to assault and violated her right against unreasonable force from a police officer, a federal grand jury said.

The video shows Simoes grabbing Marquez by the waist, hoisting her in the air and slamming her face-first onto the floor of a restaurant. Authorities said at the time that the officer was trying to keep the woman from interfering with emergency medical technicians assisting her niece, who had been hit in the head with a bottle.

Marquez's attorney, Gary Certain, acknowledged that she was distraught with worry at the time but said she did nothing to interfere.

Simoes' attorney, Andrew Quinn, did not immediately return a call. He said in June, when Simoes was arrested, that the officer did not intend to injure Marquez or violate her rights.

"What the video doesn't show is the operation of Wayne Simoes' mind at the time of this incident," Quinn said.

Simoes, 38, of Yonkers, could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison if convicted. His arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday.

Marquez, who was handcuffed and arrested after being injured, spent four days in a hospital. She was acquitted of an obstruction charge and she has sued the Police Department for $11 million.

The Justice Department has been investigating charges of brutality against the Yonkers force since long before the body-slam incident.

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