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New York City Settles False Imprisonment Suit For $1.25 Million

On September 23, 2004, New York City agreed to pay $1.25 million to a man who was falsely arrested and imprisoned for 15 months.

Bernie Pollard, a 28-year-old construction worker, was arrested at his Brooklyn home on July 22, 1989, in connection with a woman's stabbing death.

In a subsequent lineup at the 75th Precinct jail, Pollard was identified as the assailant by 4 out of 5 eyewitnesses. He was then transferred to Rikers Island where he remained for 15 months.

At the ensuing criminal trial, a bombshell was droppedtwo of the eyewitnesses recanted their testimony. Detective David Carbone, they claimed, had coerced their identifications of Pollard. The jury exonerated him.

Following his acquittal, Pollard sued the city of New York and Carbone under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for false arrest and imprisonment in violation of his civil rights. Pollard specifically claimed that the investigation and indictment was improper; that Carbone coerced the witnesses into identifying him; and that Carbone failed to investigate any other suspectsincluding the woman's husband, who had a restraining order against him. In addition, Pollard contended that the grand jury was not given the opportunity to hear testimony from an eyewitness who later recanted.

During the civil trial, Pollard presented expert testimony from Maurice Knight, a New York City psychiatrist. Knight testified that as a result of his false arrest and imprisonment, Pollard suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and depression and that he would require ongoing psychiatric care. Pollard also retained an expert on police practices and procedures, Captain Edward Mamet, also of New York City.

At the conclusion of opening arguments the defendants reevaluated their position and decided to settle for $1.25 million. Pollard was represented by Richard Gross of the Brooklyn, New York firm Rubert & Gross. See: Pollard v. City of New York, Supreme Court, King County, Case No. 30562/01.

Source: VerdictSearch New York Reporter.

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Pollard v. City of New York

Pollard v. City of New York