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$100,000 Settlement for City of New York Police Unit’s Excessive Force against Homeless Man Seeking Work

The City of New York paid $100,000 to settle a lawsuit for the violation of civil rights, false arrest and excessive force against two men by police officers.

On October 27, 2006, Kojak Carter and Jonas Belizaire were in front of the Wards Island Help Supportive Employment Center, when the New York City Police Department Homeless Unit aggressively took both men into custody for no apparent reason. They were transported to the “Keener Building” where they were forcibly strip-searched and detained for about an hour before being released.

Later that day, Belizaire returned to the Employment Center where he again encountered the Homeless Unit. Once again, he was taken into custody despite the fact that the “unit” knew they just released him. Still, Belizaire was forcibly strip-searched a second time and the police took his cash and metro cards. They then drove Belizaire to an unknown location in the Bronx where they kicked him in the face and sprayed him with a chemical agent. The police abandoned him with no way of returning back to Wards Island.

Carter and Belizaire filed a federal civil rights lawsuit for the violation of their First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments rights, as well as seven state law claims.

The City of New York settled the suit by paying them $50,000 each in December of 2008. They were represented by New York Attorney Rose M. Weber.

See: Kojak Carter and Jonas Belizaire v. City of New York, U.S.D.C. District of New York, Case No. 07 civ 11598 (LAK).

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Related legal case

Kojak Carter and Jonas Belizaire v. City of New York