Long Island family seeks $20M after confrontation by NYPD officer with gun

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Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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A family on Long Island is seeking $20 million in damages following a racially motivated confrontation by an NYPD officer with a gun at their home.

SELDEN, Long Island (WABC) -- A family on Long Island is seeking $20 million in damages following a confrontation by an NYPD officer with a gun at their home.

Devon Tyme and Michelle Ritchie, a couple from Selden, says their neighbor, NYPD Officer Douglas Debonet, confronted them on their porch last month after a road-rage incident with their son who is a college student.

Lawyers say Debonet, in a rage, punched and broke the passenger side rear-view mirror of Dillon Tyme's car on July 23.

Hours later, Debonet showed up on their porch in a confrontation that the family says was racially motivated. They said they are still traumatized.

The family is now suing both Debonet and the NYPD arguing that the officer never should have had a gun and he was improperly trained.

"They knew or should have known of his improper or unauthorized activity and behavior prior, should never had a weapon and should not have been a police officer," the family's attorney David Woycik said.

Woycik said Debonet was fired up over the road rage incident that happened hours earlier. Dillon thought he was being followed so he drove past his house and stopped at a red light.

That is when they allege that Debonet, who was wearing civilian clothing, came up to his car, banged on the window and threatened to kill him if he saw him on his street again. The family says that is when he then broke off the side mirror of the car.

The family thought that was the last of it, until he showed up at their house.

"This police officer, Douglas Debonet, then said to Devon, he said 'you're not wanted here, people don't like you here,' inflicting a racial connotation and a direct insult to them," Woycik said. "They were so shocked and frightened to have a gun pulled on them and put in their face and now they have to live with this for the rest of their lives."

Debonet was arrested on charges of menacing with a weapon and criminal mischief.

He was suspended without pay from the NYPD.

The family is calling for additional charges to be filed including assault and trespassing.

"I am totally insecure in my own home, I don't feel safe anymore," Ritchie said.

Eyewitness News has reached out to the NYPD and the city law department but has not yet heard back.

ALSO READ | 24-year-old former basketball star gunned down on crowded Queens street

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