Brooklyn family alleges police brutality

April 14, 2009 4:37:47 PM PDT
A family in Brooklyn is claiming police used excessive force on a man.NYPD officers were called to the home to help a man who is bipolar and schizophrenic. They were asked to take him to the hospital.

The family claims 26-year-old Gamalier Reyes was beaten by officers. But police claim he attacked them first and may also have suffered injuries elsewhere.

It happened inside one apartment, with the alleged victim's family in another. They could hear what was going on, but could do nothing to help.

"I saw my brother," Zully DelaCruz said. "He was already handcuffed, and I could see the blood."

DelaCruz says she called 911 for paramedics, not for what she claims was police brutality.

Her brother needed a doctor Saturday because he didn't take his medication for his schizophrenia. She says minutes later, eight officers crammed into the hallway of their Bushwick apartment building and shoved her family into a next door apartment, leaving her mentally ill brother alone with police.

"He only demanded to be left alone," she said. "Instead, he was attacked by the police officers."

"Just imagine yourself on the other side of a door, while your loved one is screaming and begging for help while they hit them," sister Indhira Reyes said.

In front of the 83rd Police Precinct Tuesday morning, the family demanded the officers be held accountable.

But police tell a very different story about what happened inside the Irving Avenue apartment.

Officers say Gamalier told them, "You're going to have to kill me. I'm not going."

And they say that when they tried to restrain him, he punched one in the face and hurt another officer's leg.

Also, 911 transcripts show an emergency operator saying, "Alright, so he's threatening. Irrational. And he's restless, he won't go to sleep, right?"

Then, the family's social worker says, "No, they just came back from the Dominican Republic. They had to come back early because he got in a fight; he was very aggressive over there; he got in a fight over there; he got his head cracked open and they just came back."

Gamalier's sister admits her brother was in a fight. But she claims the multiple surgeries her brother now needs were caused by police.

"When he arrived to the United States, he was fine," she said. "He was not injured. All those bruises and broken bones, the police department did that to him."

The family put in a complaint to the precinct. They have met with an attorney and plans to fill a lawsuit.

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WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King


NEW YORK AND TRI-STATE AREA NEWS

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