$1.75 million jury award for gay Staten Island man who said cops beat, slurred him
A federal jury awarded $1.75 million to a gay Staten Island man who accused cops of slurring him during a beatdown outside his home.
Jurors in Brooklyn Federal Court deliberated 16 hours before deciding that four cops used excessive force on Louis Falcone in a June 19, 2015 incident that started when his mother called 911 because Falcone was fighting with his brother.
Falcone, a 31-year-old caterer at the time, said what police did next was beyond the pale.
He claims cops yanked him from his Midland Beach home and repeatedly punched and stomped him. He suffered a fractured nose, plus serious spinal injuries requiring surgery.
Falcone said the cops derided him as a ” f—-t”— could be heard. Video, taken from inside someone’s home across the street, captured some of the incident, but none of the dialogue —
Falcone was not charged in the incident. He testified at trial and, according to his lawyer, Adam Roth, convinced the jury he was telling the truth.
“Mr. Falcone was very credible and the video showed what happened,” Roth said. “I think the officers’ stories were not totally credible.”
The city noted, however, that the jury made no finding regarding the alleged anti-gay slurs and said Falcone’s story didn’t add up.
City lawyers also disputed the severity of Falcone’s back injuries, noting that he’d had back problems and surgery in the past. The city also argued that Falcone had lied when he denied the argument was in part about heroin.
The city also described Falcone as the aggressor, saying he resisted when police tried to take him into custody and spit blood — from injuries suffered during the fight with his brother — into Officer Joseph Ranola’s mouth.
The jury, however, found Falcone did not resist. Jurors delivered the verdict on Thursday.
“We are reviewing the city’s legal options because of inconsistencies in the jury’s verdict,” said Nicholas Paolucci, spokesman for the Law Department.
The NYPD would not say if Ranola or the other accused officers — Phillip Alfano, Robert Ramirez or Erik Miller — were disciplined, though Paolucci noted that neither the Internal Affairs Bureau nor the Civilian Complaint Review Board substantiated Falcone’s allegations. Ramirez and Alfano are now retired.
Roth said that while the NYPD “does an excellent job keeping the city safe,” the four officers in this case assaulted Falcone.
“Unfortunately, these particular officers didn’t exhibit the qualities of the finest of the Finest,” he said.