By Joseph Ax
NEW YORK (Reuters) – New York City has agreed to pay more than $600,000 to settle claims from a man who said he was brutally beaten by police officers nearly five years ago.
Jateik Reed was 19 on Jan. 12, 2012, when he and two friends were stopped and frisked by officers on a sidewalk in the borough of the Bronx. Surveillance camera and cellphone recordings of the encounter showing officers kicking Reed and striking him with batons were widely shared online following the incident.
Charges against Reed, including assault and harassment, were dropped several months later when prosecutors said they could not meet their burden of proof at trial. Lawyers for Reed said at the time that the charges were fabricated by police to justify the street stop.
Reed is black. One of his lawyers, Gideon Orion Oliver, said he was unsure of the race of the officers involved in the incident.
Four of the officers involved were disciplined internally but were not terminated. Reed and his lawyers were to hold a news conference on Friday afternoon at police headquarters to ask NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill to fire the officers who participated in the incident and alleged cover-up.
“They’re still on the job,” said Oliver. “Those are not the kinds of consequences that are going to lead to more accountability.”
U.S. police departments have come under increased scrutiny in recent years for their treatment of minorities. The NYPD ended its aggressive stop-and-frisk policy after a federal judge in 2013 ruled it was a form of unconstitutional racial profiling.
Reed’s 2013 lawsuit against the NYPD was joined by his mother, two brothers – one only 4 at the time – and two friends involved in the incident. The lawsuit claimed that his mother, brother and a friend were improperly arrested when they went to the local precinct to complain.
The settlement includes a $480,000 payment to Reed, with an approximately $135,000 in additional payments to the other plaintiffs.
A spokesman for the city’s law department said the deal was “in the city’s best interest.” The city did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Dan Grebler)